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Byssus Paperback – 13 Feb 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (13 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144724110X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447241102
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 15.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Throughout Byssus. . . there is something magical and incantatory in the way she cherished language at the level of the name, as if utterance itself might be a way of dwelling in the real and making oneself at home there. (New Statesman)

From the Back Cover

Byssus is Jen Hadfield's third collection, and her first after the T. S. Eliot prize-winning Nigh-No-Place. Byssus - pronounced 'bissus', and meaning the mussel's 'beard', the tough fibres which anchor it to the seabed - is a book first and foremost about home, and what it takes to find and forge one: amongst friends, alert to mortality, to love and to landscape. Her language, strongly rooted in the common names she finds in the sea, shore and moor of her adopted Shetland, has already been widely admired for its startling originality. Here, through poems of astonishment and adoration, through charms and fables, and ultimately through a practice of attention and careful honouring - she shows how speech itself can be an act of home-making. Byssus is a profound consideration of just what it means to get to know a place.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jen Hadfield is a poet who really cranks up language and, to my mind, makes the average poet look lazy. This is an interesting and oddly affecting collection which sees the poet detach herself in sometimes violent, sometimes delicate, ways from the array of ordinary poetic devices and phrase-making. There are still the personal poems, Shetland attitudes and observations, but the work I like most in here seems to operate at some seriously subliminal sonic/visual/cantankerous level. The 'sex-starved smile' of the writer/sun; the 'hot perturbation of Sirius'; 'a span of sea glittering with gannets, like a face-full of piercings'; 'the sea's lift-offish vacancies'; fresh images and language often sprayed across the page in night-sky appearance, or crushed into prose poems which stay taut and crystalline like the best prose poetry. I only hope this collection finds its way to readers beyond the UK - it's an example of exciting and pressured Scottish writing. Risk-taking, humorous, fretful and wild.
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Format: Paperback
One of the collections I was most looking forward to this year, and maybe because of that, the most disappointing so far. Perhaps it's not a bad book, but a big let down from Hadfield's previous collections - especially Nigh No Place. The spatial experiments feel studenty, the ambition to bring aspects of technology and text speech into the text feels worthy, in the bad way, and ultimately - poem after poem just seems to lack weight. I really wanted to like this but don't. This is Hadfield's third book, but it feels like the proverbial, disappointing sophomore collection.
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By David on 16 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoy this. Not sure about the more experiemental poems - but she still remains one of the best new voices in poetry in recent years
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More stunning work from one of the best natural poets around. I can't stop re-reading this book! Excellent.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A nice book of poetry which arrived in time adn in perfect condition.
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