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The Adoption Papers [Paperback]

Jackie Kay
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.95
Price: 6.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 Jan 1998
'Jackie Kay tells the story of a black girl's adoption by a white Scottish couple from three different viewpoints: the mother, the birth mother and the daughter. This unique and honest volume of poems has been adapted for radio. Also included in the book are new poems reflecting issues of sexuality, Scottishness and being working-class' - Spare Rib.

'Jackie Kay has been gathering a reputation for a few years as an outstanding young talent in British poetry and playwriting... The Adoption Papers could well become a key work of feminism in action... a wonderfully spirited, tender and crafted contribution to Scottish writing, to black writing, and to the poetry of our time. It is a work of the utmost generosity and truth' - Alastair Niven, Poetry Review.

'These are brave, honest, unsentimental poems... Kay's poetry can be loud with pain and rage, but sometimes it's as though she whispers too, entering dreams, allowing herself a delicate imagery... This book is full of fresh, remarkable poetry; its rhythms sing from the page, demanding to be heard' - Elizabeth Burns, The Scotsman

'This poet's history - a black child adopted and reared in Scotland - and the personae that have shone from her previous books in many genres since her first collection, The Adoption Papers, make reforging this particular identity an unusually complex matter. In different forms, tones and voices, these poems flicker fascinatingly between oppositions... The poems explore authenticity, allegiance, origins and memory through multiple masks' - Ruth Padel, The Independent.

'Warm, tough, painful and often very funny poems' - Fleur Adcock, Sunday Times.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (3 Jan 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185224156X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852241568
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.9 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jackie Kay was an adopted child of Scottish/Nigerian descent brought up by white parents in Glasgow. She is one of Britain's best-known poets, appearing frequently on radio and TV programmes on poetry and culture.  In 2007 Bloodaxe published Darling: New & Selected Poems, which included almost all of her four previous books of poetry from Bloodaxe, The Adoption Papers (1991), Other Lovers (1993), Off Colour (1998) and Life Mask (2005).  Her epic poem The Lamplighter, adapted for both radio and stage, was published by Bloodaxe in 2008, was followed by Fiere from Picador in 2011.

Jackie Kay's fiction and non-fiction (from Picador) has been massively popular: her novel Trumpet (1998), two collections of short stories, Why Don't You Stop Talking? (2002) and Wish I Was Here (2006), and her memoir Red Dust Road (2010), which won the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011. She won the Somerset Maugham Award with Other Lovers, the Guardian Fiction Prize for Trumpet, Decibel Writer of the Year for Wish I Was Here and has twice won the Signal Poetry Award for her children's poetry. Her fourth book of poetry for children, Red Cherry, Red, was published by Bloomsbury in 2007. The Adoption Papers is a set text on numerous school and university courses. She lives in Manchester, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2006.

She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and co-edited the anthology Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe Books / Newcastle University, 2012) with James Procter and Gemma Robinson.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, honest, taboo breaking poetry 16 Sep 2010
Jackie Kay writes about subjects often not dealt with by poetry - such as, here, adoption, cultural identity, racism, sexuality.

This is an highly enjoyable, original, stimulating, accessible collection. A must have for your poetry library, even if you don't normally read poetry.
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious poetry? 11 Feb 2003
By A Customer
I studied this collection of poetry last year, having not really read any of Jackie Kay's poetry before. The first thing which struck me was how Kay is able to put ideas forward in a way which includes her reader completely; it is very easy to see where she is coming from. "The Adoption Papers" is actually the title of a poem, seperated into 'chapters', which relates the story of a white couple adopting a black baby (Kay is a black writer who was actually adopted, although how 'autobiographical' this poem may be is debateable). This poem makes up the first section of the poetry volume, "Severe Gale 8" is the second half. Severe Gale 8 is a collection of shorter poems, some re-exploring themes from the previous section.
Both of the sections deal with issues such as the question of how important origins are to peolpe as they grow up as well as what constitutes a 'normal' family unit.
What I liked about this collection of poetry is that it is modern, it deals with issues which remain to be very relevant to today's society. Contentious issues are discussed instead of being shied away from, and are done so in a way which makes you stop as you read the poems, in order to consider what is being said.
Although Kay may not have the same direct humour as other poets, such as Carol Ann Duffy, her poetry is still very entertaining. A good read generally.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Kiwi poet Fleur Adcock of The Sunday Times says these dire poems are "..very funny."

I tried hard to find amusement in this "pee and cardboard" selection. I failed to find anything that even resembled humour...or interest for that matter.

I could be wrong, so if you DO find anything to giggle about please flag it up in a review. Then, maybe, there won't be 40 Amazon sellers desperate to offload "The Adoption Papers" for a single penny hoping to recoup on the postage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book! 21 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having an adopted son, we are particularly interested in Jackie Kay's writing, and she has great talent. But her writing is for EVERYONE.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poet for the people 21 Feb 2009
Moving and humorous, JK uses language skilfully and evocatively. She is an exceptional poet in that anyone can read and appreciate her without being a big fan of poetry.
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