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The World's Two Smallest Humans
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 November 2012
Julia Copus is one if the most interesting poets writing at the moment, for a combination of insight into emotions, acute observation of life, sometimes including scientific detail, and a wide ranging and subtle imagination. This collection was shortlisted for the 2013 TS Eliot Prize, and deservedly so.

Subjects include love relationships, not least in the final sequence about the poets experience of IVF treatment which looks at the effect of this on all protagonists the couple, medical interventions at the conception and the welcome of the resulting child. These have a poignancy and dignity in them that perhaps seem unlikely when one considers some of procedures in the treatment room.

That said, all these poems are very rooted in the human world, for example, in a poem that describes a past lover, or another describing a sixty year old man on a bus and his life remembering the time of the death of his mother. This poem, "Raymond at 60," consists of two stanzas on facing pages. It's only after reading this that one realizes the poem is a palindrome, where the second stanza has the same lines of the first in reverse. This attests to the virtuosity of the poet's control of her words, because it was not something I noticed until I had read the poem' and then moved on a few pages.

There are also poems that display a good knowledge of the arts, not least a sequence about a composer (not the same story as in the play Amadeus!) living and a reworking of a poem by Ovid. However, perhaps my favorite poem of this collection, and the one for me that is worth the price of the books alone is one called "Heronkind." This is about a slender heron's longing for reaching out to catch a fish. Copus concludes:

How much less complex
life would be
without this feverish
dance between
the wanter and the wanted,
though the truth of it is
that without fish
all heronkind would
be stunted.

This poem form me has a subtle music and states, with simplicity, a profound truth in a way that cannot be bettered.

This didn't win the TS Eliot Prize in the end. But we're all winners with poetry of this quality. Thank you, Julia.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2012
Wonderful, varied poems in this slim red book. They evoked real feelings of nostalgia and longing in me. I particularly loved An Easy Passage, which won the Forward prize. When I read it I remembered all over again how it felt to be young and on the precipice of life, and I immediately emailed it to friends I'd known since my school days in the hope that they'd remember, too. I found the 'Ghost' poems moving as well. If you or anyone you know has any experience of IVF I'm sure these will touch a cord. After reading the last poem I just sat for a while with the book in my hands, looking at the cover, thinking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2012
Copus has a unique voice which opens up unexpected slants on situations that we think we know well or don't know at all. She takes the reader from the precipice of puberty - into an adult world of hopes and disappointments,and finally reveals the emotional and traumatic journey of 'the World's Two Smallest Humans' through IVF treatment. This poetry collection is insightful, memorable and each poem rewards the reader on many levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2013
This is incredibly accessible poetry that distils experiences that are like incidents that stick in the mind. They openly and bravely expose emotions around the subjects examined. The collection includes a short series of poems about the extraordinarily intimate interface between scientific technology and human desires and hopes that exist around IVF. Every word has been made to count.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2013
A beautiful book, from cover to cover. Each word is heart felt and hits straight to the core. Julia Copus's work is so true to life it is almost painful, it is amazing to have poets of this standard writing and working today. She gives insight into some of the most difficult subjects with such skill and integrity. I would buy it over and again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2012
Loved this book, small but beautifully formed. Very well written by someone with a real passion for telling a story through poetry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2012
I had any love of poetry knocked out of me at school and it is only in recent years that I have occasionally been tempted back. I heard some of these poems being read on Radio 4 recently and their musical beauty immediately touched my heart. These poems will stay with me!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A continued retreat from her first. A Soft-edged Reed of Light ends with a crass echo of Hardy (that poem we hear rather too much of around Christmas), The Particella of Franz Xavier Sussmayr is an achieved if singularly pointless essay in Browningesque ventriloquism (the ventriloquist ventriloquised!), the Hero poem in which, confusingly, our heroine is dérangé not dérangée (and it's not clear what Copus intends by the term) was simply ill-advised and the uneven tone of the last sequence (an absolute gift of a subject) leaves one feeling short-changed when there's such a passel of yearning/conceiving/birthing/rearing poems out there, Kate Clanchy's stunning Newborn being the go-to collection in my view
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on 8 March 2015
Prompt delivery and as described
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1 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2012
I heard an extract from this book being read on the radio, thought it beautiful and inspiring and immediately sought it out.
The amazon store tells me that is available for download but, when I go to the Kindle-published version in the Amazon store it tells me it is currently unavailable.
Dear Amazon, please make it possible for me to purchase the Kindle version for my Kindle iPad app ASAP!
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