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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Welsh Poet, 3 Jan 2011
This review is from: A Recipe for Water (Paperback)
I was introduced to Gillian Clarke's work at our local poetry group and I was so impressed that I immediately bought her Collected Poems. A Recipe for Water is her most recent collection published in 2009. She was made National Poet of Wales in 2008 and has recently received another award. Her work is both accessible and profound. Quote - " She explores water as memory and meaning." Her metaphors are vivid and arresting and so obvious when you think about them. - "Over the sea the starlings come in paragraphs" and
"All the spare light of the world is stored
in the folded wings of a pair of sleeping swans."
If you already know her poetry you will rejoice in this collection. If she is new to you then like me you are in for a treat - an epiphany. Do read her work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful collection, full of gems, 9 April 2011
By 
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Recipe for Water (Paperback)
This is a delightful collection of poems, in which the National Poet for Wales mainly explores, with great versatility and wide imaginative sympathy, some of the myriad meanings of water in all their diversity. And although associations between water and port cities like Cardiff and Mumbai are a rich source of inspiration, this is a collection in which water in nature predominates: as rivers on their journeys from mountain to sea; as ice; as storm; as home to otter, swan and kingfisher; as setting for the painting of a boat that evokes a whole series of reflections (`Severn').

Clarke is a visionary, celebrating elemental connections between past and present (`Bach at St. David's', `Llandāf Cathedral') and between the words of her forbears and her own (`Quayside'). She recalls, too, her own love of Welsh awakened in early childhood (`First Words'), particularly the liquid ll-, ll-, ll- of the language's many words whose meaning is connected in some way to water, words whose meaning she searches for, buried beneath the water-table of memory (`A Pocket Dictionary').

This is a tremendously versatile collection. There's an elegy for the July 7th 2005 bombings, and poems in memory of World War II massacres in France; poems about rugby; and verse in homage to Aneurin Bevan. Amidst death, Clarke celebrates a craftsman friend's survival `in the grain of things' (`Library Chair'), while amidst the mundane our `shoulder blades like broken wings' repeatedly suggest a world of the spirit just out of reach (`Coins' and elsewhere). The collection works beautifully, and there's very rarely a duff note - even if the section `Barrage' in `Severn', a protest against the now-abandoned Severn Barrage project, comes across as too polemical in tone, in my view. Invidious, in a collection with so many gems, to single one out, but the marvellous `Cattle, Hayfield, Storm', with its image of `a herd of squalls' which `shove and shoulder, kicking up a shindig' like the cattle `galumphing along' to shelter as the storm comes on, is quite superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Varied subjects and poetic forms; Consistently strong, 4 Aug 2010
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Nadia Kingsley (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Recipe for Water (Paperback)
A Pocket Dictionary, Nettles, Man in a shower, Glacier, Mercury, Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Gravity, Love at Livebait, Library Chair - some of my personal favourites, and examples of the varied subject matter Gillian Clarke confidently and successfully tackles in this 2009 collection. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to express feelings, 18 Feb 2014
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H. Campion (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Recipe for Water (Paperback)
I came late to Gillian Clarke's work, after, much earlier, a brief but vivid taste of a few poems. Reading her now, the vivid understanding of emotions so vividly focussed in her words & imagery is really powerful. She gets it just right - you know & feel exactly what she means. For example, she understands the Severn & conveys the sheer strength & the formidable, unpredictable . legendary power of it, from the source in the high mountains to the Severn Bore, when it pushes back, against its normal flow, towards its source from the far West -
"a water-dragon is born"...
"rearing its crested head,
past cathedrals and towns,
a seven foot wave
rolling up-country
where no wave should be."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous poetry, 28 Dec 2013
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This review is from: A Recipe for Water (Paperback)
I came to Gillian Clarke through helping my grand-daughter with her homework...what a fantastic poet! She is so moving and thought provoking and now I am an addict of her work.
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A Recipe for Water
A Recipe for Water by Gillian Clarke (Paperback - 24 April 2009)
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