- Paperback: 64 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape; UK ed. edition (14 Aug. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224069594
- ISBN-13: 978-0224069595
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hard Water Paperback – 14 Aug 2003
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"This collection establishes Jean Sprackland as a definite new talent. These poems in Hard Water have the exhilarating quality of freshness and truth: poems of memory and place, religion and childhood, captured with relish in a textured and physical language. Added to this are a gift for the colloquial and a subtle, sexy humour. This is a hugely enjoyable collection by a poet writing with clear gusto and authority. Buy it- and then buy it for a friend" (Carol Ann Duffy)
"Jean Sprackland's poems reinvent the world with a wicked, michievous magic. Delighting in unsettling narratives and transformations, she turns the familiar landscape of everyday life into something instantly more compelling and mysterious- often anxious and troubling but always thrilling. There is an undeniable beauty at the dark heart of these poems" (Neil Rollinson)
"This is an exhilarating book; each poem a dazzling performance which shifts our perception of the world" (Vicki Fever)
A brilliant young woman poet joins the Cape list.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
I’d read her first book, “Tattoos for Mother’s Day”, so I knew she had ability. An interesting quirkiness, a hint of darkness in her poetry. It was a quietly competent first book. But so often the second book (or album, or film) is a real disappointment.
But not here. This is a stunning book – her range, her technique, her deftness in expression all point to the development of a real poetic talent.
“The Apprentice” opens with:
“I married a big man with clumsy hands,
whose touch left me fingerprinted with bruises ...”
“... I turned
and took his hands, set them free.”
Or there’s “Losing the Dark”:
“... away from the glare
that opens you like a knife. How all the birds
might sing themselves to death.”
Her work ranges from the macabre (“St Nicholas and the Salted Boys”) through the sexual (“Shadow Photograph”, "The Apprentice") to the political (“Soulless”). There are fables ( “Lifesaving”, “Holy”) and excursions into other characters (“A Hangman’s New Career”, “Mr Smiley”).
She is funny, she is accessible, she has a sharp mind and an eye for the oddness that lurks in the most ordinary things. She makes you look at the world as though for the first time. She is a real poet.
Carol Ann Duffy summed it up: “Buy it – and then buy it for a friend.”
Neither of you will regret it.
This honestly has to be one of the best collections of poetry I have read. There's not really a damp squid in there. Jean Sprackland's writing is fresh and quirky and, in places, reassuringly northern. Her writing reminds me of Billy Collins who is still my favourite modern day poet.
A few notable crackers: Hard Water, Caravan, Shocks, The Man Who Comes To Collect The Bottle Bank, The Light Collector and the unique and disturbing A Baby In The Filing Cabinet. I'd say the Light Collector is the pick of the bunch.
Overall a fab collection of poems.