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Destroyed Dresses Paperback – 21 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 26 pages
  • Publisher: Valley Press (21 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908853077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908853073
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,731,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'In their dealings with things left unsaid, Cara Brennan's poems can be eerily atmospheric and unsettling, as though written from a world next door to the everyday. Destroyed Dresses is an intriguing and promising start.' --Sean O'Brien, two-times Forward Prize winning poet

'Cara Brennan's first pamphlet moves with a passionate but precise gaze between memory and presence. Always alert to tiny details, both physical and emotional, she fixes on those imperfections that evoke perfectly her chilly landscapes and tender interiors. The image of the dress recurs - designed, worn, shed, recycled - a metaphor for her precise craft as well as a symbol of the heart's journey through these nimble and compelling poems.' --W.N. Herbert, two-times T.S. Eliot Prize shortlisted poet

'Poised and clear-spoken, these poems capture the fleeting moment. Brennan details human warmth, ever alive to the wider world's chill. Her imagery shimmers, her tone is urgent.' --Christy Ducker, author of multi-prize-winning pamphlet Armour

About the Author

Cara Brennan was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1990, and studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She has worked for Flambard Press and Mslexia, and more recently at Newcastle s Lit & Phil library. She is a graduate of the Writing Squad.

Her poetry has been published in Stanza Stones: The Anthology, and by Ink Sweat and Tears, Dead Ink, The Cadaverine, Pomegranate, Myths of the Near Future, NAWE and The Beat. Destroyed Dresses marks the first time her work has been published in a single volume.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By nouriach on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Destroyed Dresses represents the first time that all of Cara Brennan's poems have appeared in a single volume. Like the subject of `Freight Train', the poetic voice in Destroyed Dresses seeks to reflect the "small parts of your existence / Tracking a life". The young poet from North Yorkshire softly traces the development of an intimate voice via the leitmotif of dresses and, more thematically, the insulated skin that both encapsulates and then eventually dissolves as we grow.

Brennan has an assured poetic voice and asserts herself in the opening stanza with the sibilant: "The October sun breeds / cataracts, the breeze / freezes my bones." There is a euphony in her words that sweeps past the reader and brings them intimately into the very breeze that causes the figure to pull the eponymous quilt over their body. The opening poem establishes the theme of protection and hints at the eventual denouement of renewal through the recycled dresses. Remnants of old dresses are still perceptible in the quilt's patchwork like the silver tracks left in the snow of `Fifth Birthday' and suggest a nostalgic past encroaching on the present. It is fitting that Brennan has her poetic `I' "clutching...skin, pin-spotted with fire" in pain, bereft of her mother's eyes whilst she instead slept inside the walls of a blue tent. With the desecration of the skin, her collection thematically accelerates as, like the sticks in `Pooh Sticks', she floats downstream alone and towards maturity. Roles change, emotions evolve and the outer layer of our ineffable emotions mature. Despite appearing frequently in the early poems, the poet chooses to remove the presence of adults. `Nibbler' has the protagonist maternally protect a five-week old animal and "trace his dreams in the ghost of trees.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Ward on 29 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Destroyed Dresses is the debut pamphlet from Cara Brennan. What's remarkable is that although she is only in her early twenties, Brennan has a mature voice and imagination comparable to much older poets.

There is a lot to like here. Her writing fizzes with original images such as "The October sun breeds cataracts" ('Quilt'), "goldfish-bowl window" ('Fifth Birthday'), "fluorescent bag distended with organs and air" ('Medusozoa') and "my shadow is a rabbit on a hook" ('The Air Moves Other Things').

She is an acute observer of her landscapes, both urban and emotional, and records details with a precise eye. When Brennan covers more personal subjects in poems such as 'Bobble' and 'Cherry Beer', she avoids being sentimental and chooses to focus on the metaphor.

I look forward to reading more and watching her grow as a poet. Anyone interested in reading one of the best debuts from an up-and-coming poet should read this.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Destroyed Dresses is an excellent title; a suitable combination of the challenging and the domestic. And it is a very nicely designed book, witty without being overpowering. The poems are a perfect sampler of a new writer's work, a range of themes and subjects, but staying reasonably close to 'emotional' home. These are poems about growing up, becoming aware of the subtleties of the world, of time passing already. They are well observed, self-deprecating and self-aware. It is a very enjoyable book of poems, and one which I find I have been carrying around and dipping into for several months.
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