These poems were commissioned for the last year of the century. For one week at the end of 1999 these poems form part of a festival in the city of Salisbury, flown from aircraft, written in stained glass, as tattoos, grown into fields, shown in cinemas and lit up in fireworks.
'Jo Shapcott is doing no less than rewriting the English poetic canon - challenging sources, verse structure, and the primacy of the patriarchal voice.', John Kinsella, Poetry Review
'Shapcott is gifted and original, and it is in work such as hers that the future health of poetry needs to be sought.' Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times
'The excellent title poem ['Of Mutability'], a deceptively casual sonnet, acts as something of a tissue sample for most of the book's concerns, from the mutations of cells to the disruption of the seasons, in a voice as mutable as the phenomena it describes.' Frances Leviston, Guardian
Jo Shapcott's cheekily titled, Her Book: Poems 1988 - 1998 (2000), consists of a selection of poetry from her three earlier collections: Electroplating the Baby (1988), which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Phrase Book (1992), and My Life Asleep (1999), which won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection). Together with Matthew Sweeney she edited Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times (1996). Tender Taxes, her collection of conversations with Rainer Maria Rilke's poems in French, was published in 2002. Jo Shapcott has worked with a number of musicians on collaborative projects. She has also collaborated on poetry projects with scientists and medics, and is the editor of Discourses (2002), a collection of new poems by leading poets in response to the work of contemporary scientists. She is President of the Poetry Society. Her most recent book of poems Of Mutability (2010), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.