Unsent : New & Selected Poems 1980-2012
Penelope Shuttle is one of Britain's leading poets. This selection - drawn from ten collections published over three decades plus new work - shows both her consistency of voice and her energised openness to language and to life. Adventurous, searching, interested in the luminous instant of reality that dwells in the perpetual now of the poem, Penelope Shuttle is a poet who clearly shares Picasso's view that 'If you know exactly what you're going to do, what's the point of doing it?' Not for nothing was one of her books titled Adventures with My Horse. The new poems of Unsent are communications to and with her husband Peter Redgrove, remembering their shared past with love, wit, paradox, exasperation and a lightness of heart towards ageing and sorrow. With these poems Shuttle concludes her triptych of mourning for Redgrove, and ceases 'to weep on the world's shoulder'. If a poet's work is her personal experience of the universe then this book takes us deep into that Shuttle-verse. In earlier collections her concerns are with language as a safety net from life's difficulties and a guide through widening regions of love and motherhood. Her themes range widely: personal life, that part of our 'secret working mind' which we call dreams, the landscape of Cornwall, myth and fairytale. And she has a passionate awareness of the many ways - sacred and profane, comic, sensuous, and joyful - in which we sustain ourselves through poetry, combining a provocative intelligence with uninhibited emotional power.
- Paperback | 272 pages
- 156 x 234 x 17.78mm | 521.63g
- 15 Feb 2013
- Bloodaxe Books Ltd
- Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
'One of our most compellingly sensuous poets - Shuttle is a poet of immense reach, both in the range of her subject-matter and the breadth of her language. She is both an acute observer and an inventive fiction-maker. One senses that she has her life perfectly in tune with her poetry, so that it registers the slightest variation in her state of being. In this sense, the narratives of emotional, erotic and maternal love that can be traced through these poems collocate into the drama of a life lived in the full flood of being' - Gerard Woodward, TLS. 'Penelope Shuttle, as both thinker and poet, seems to me exemplary in her use of the intuitive faculty: a self-forgetful procedure for the renewal of awareness which one might describe as the making of leaps, rather than the taking of "logical" steps, or what Virilio, discussing Proust, calls "the Sophist idea of agape, the suddenness of this possible entry into another logic".' - John Burnside, Poetry Review. 'Her poems of mourning...are among the best she has written' - Elaine Feinstein, The Times.
About Penelope Shuttle
Penelope Shuttle has lived in Cornwall since 1970, is the widow of the poet Peter Redgrove. Her first collection of poems, The Orchard Upstairs (1981) was followed by six other books from Oxford University Press, The Child-Stealer (1983), The Lion from Rio (1986), Adventures with My Horse (1988), Taxing the Rain (1994), Building a City for Jamie (1996) and Selected Poems 1980-1996 (1998), and then A Leaf Out of His Book (1999) from Oxford Poets/Carcanet, and Redgrove's Wife (2006) and Sandgrain and Hourglass (2010) from Bloodaxe Books. Redgrove's Wife was shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2006. Sandgrain and Hourglass is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her retrospective, Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980-2012 (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), drew on ten collections published over three decades plus the title-collection, Unsent. Her later collections from Bloodaxe are Will you walk a little faster? (2017) and Lyonesse (2021). Heath, a collaboration about Hounslow Heath with John Greening, was published by Nine Arches in 2016. First published as a novelist, her fiction includes All the Usual Hours of Sleeping (1969), Wailing Monkey Embracing a Tree (1973) and Rainsplitter in the Zodiac Garden (1977). With Peter Redgrove, she is co-author of The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman (1978) and Alchemy for Women: Personal Transformation Through Dreams and the Female Cycle (1995), as well as a collection of poems, The Hermaphrodite Album (1973), and two novels, The Terrors of Dr Treviles: A Romance (1974) and The Glass Cottage: A Nautical Romance (1976).