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Ground Water Paperback – 29 Jan 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd; First Edition edition (29 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185224657X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852246570
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 445,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

An impressive debut…the metaphorical language is finely judged, touching both the landscapes and the people crawling its surface with a shrewd but never less than sympathetic gaze. --D.J. Taylor, Guardian

Matthew Hollis shows an impressive confidence in the promptings of the imagination and no desire at all to ingratiate himself. Craft, not attitude, is what counts. Poems are sometimes called "quiet" when really they're inaudible. His are genuinely quiet, drawing in the ear to enjoy, for example, his artful rendering in slowed folk-song rhythm of the terror and excitement of floods. --Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

Nothing in this first collection is clumsy...Ground Water is never sentimental, a tribute to the author's attention to the way in which he makes the language of his poetry an event in itself...it announces Matthew Hollis as a fascinating prospect. --Stephen Knight, Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Matthew Hollis was born in 1971 in Norwich, and now lives in London. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1999. He is co-editor of 101 Poems Against War (Faber, 2003) and Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (Bloodaxe Books, 2000), and editor of the Selected Poems of Edward Thomas (Faber, 2011). He is poetry editor at Faber & Faber. After its shortlisting for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, his first full-length collection Ground Water (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and for the Whitbread Poetry Award. Ground Water was also a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. His biography, Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Faber, 2011), won the Costa Biography Award, the H.W. Fisher Biography Award and the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
I found this book almost by accident, and am inordinately fond of it. It could be said that these poems are overly careful and precise, and no doubt some will find them a little precious, but I find them honest, evocative and full of the `big skies and battened-down horizons` (to quote Simon Armitage`s blurb on the back cover) of Hollis`s native East Anglia. I`ve walked the vast, sea-distant beaches of Norfolk, and witnessed the particluar light found in that oft-neglected region of England, and these poems are suffused with both the open light and the rainy greys of the place.
This, as far as I can tell, is the poet`s first and only collection, no doubt due to the fact that he must have spent the last few years since its publication in 2004 writing the latest biography of another subtle, careful poet of place, Edward Thomas, as well as editing a new selection of his poems.
Here is the opening poem, called Wintering:

If I close my eyes I can picture him
flitting the hedgerow for splints
or a rib of wood to kindle the fire,

or reading the snow for whatever
it was that came out of the trees
and circled the house in the night;

if I listen I can hear him out
in the kitchen, scudding potatoes,
calling the cat in; if I breathe

I can smell the ghost of a fire,
a burning of leaves that would fizz
in the mizzle before snow.

There is in this house now
a stillness of cat fur and boxes,
of photographs, paperbacks, waste-

paper baskets; a lifetime
of things that I`ve come here
to winter or to burn.

There is in this world one snow fall.
Everything else is just weather.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By london on 4 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You feel the rhythm and the breath of some writers in their words - It stays with you. This is one of those writers.

Do also read his biography of the poet Edward Thomas, "Now All Roads Lead to France."
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