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- Publisher: BLOODAXE BOOKS LTD
- Format: Paperback | 80 pages
- Dimensions: 136mm x 210mm x 8mm | 140g
- Publication date: 28 October 2013
- Publication City/Country: Tyne and Wear
- ISBN 10: 1852249730
- ISBN 13: 9781852249731
- Sales rank: 534,444
Fleur Adcock's title refers to the transparent, glittering wings of some of the species - bees, mosquitoes, dragonflies - celebrated or lamented in a sequence of poems on encounters with arthropods, from the stick insects and crayfish of her native New Zealand to the clothes' moths that infest her London house. There is an elegy for the once abundant caterpillars of her English childhood, while other sections of the book include elegies for human beings and poems based on family wills from the 16th to the 20th centuries, as well as birthday greetings for old friends and for a new great-grandson.
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Fleur Adcock writes about men and women, childhood, identity, roots and rootlessness, memory and loss, animals and dreams, as well as our interactions with nature and place. Her poised, ironic poems are remarkable for their wry wit, conversational tone and psychological insight, unmasking the deceptions of love or unravelling family lives. Born in New Zealand in 1934, she spent the war years in England, returning with her family to New Zealand in 1947. She emigrated to Britain in 1963, working as a librarian in London until 1979. In 1977-78 she was writer-in-residence at Charlotte Mason College of Education, Ambleside. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1979-81, living in Newcastle, becoming a freelance writer after her return to London. She received an OBE in 1996, and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006 for Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe, 2000). Fleur Adcock published three pamphlets with Bloodaxe: Below Loughrigg (1979), Hotspur (1986) and Meeting the Comet (1988), as well as her translations of medieval Latin lyrics, The Virgin & the Nightingale (1983). All her collections were then published by Oxford University Press until they shut down their poetry list in 1999, after which Bloodaxe published her collected poems Poems 1960-2000 (2000) followed ten years later by Dragon Talk (2010).
'Adcock has a deceptively laid-back tone, through which the sharper edge of her talent is encountered like a razor blade in a peach' - Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian. 'Adcock's reputation has been founded on her spare, conversational poems, in which the style is deceptively simple, apparently translucent - those who see in such poems only flatness are missing the power of a voice which teases both reader and subject' - Jo Shapcott, TLS. 'Her imagination thrives on what threatens her peace of mind, and only when she is unguarded can these threats have their full creative effect - Throughout her writing life, she has made a fine art from holding on to principles of orderliness and good clear sense; but she has made an even finer one from loosening her grip on them' - Andrew Motion, TLS.