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  • Carrie Etter

Em Strang's Bird-Woman (Shearsman, 2016)


Here are some of my favourite passages from this impressive debut collection by Scottish poet Em Strang:

The sunlight is squeezing her, squeezing the field-grass

until her blue dress is a distant boat

and the field is the sea....

from "Bird-Woman"

...more night on the fields than she's seen before,

the mountains hovering like hawks.

*

It's dawn when I find her,

grief-stiff, the rooks lifting and re-settling,

lifting and re-settling,

the sun beginning to burn.

from "Wolf"

...grey seals

who slide from air to water

as though the sea were an open door.

end of "Getting Ready to Dance"

You swing the bucket like the hand of a friend.

from "Riparian Zone"

It was a long winter and the rain came and never went, like a baby's first cry.

from "Big Davie"

Black nettles cringe at his gate,

old home harled with birdshit.

opening stanza of "Man of the Machars,

Whithorn Peninsula"

...his smile tells the way the river bends

and how he crossed it....

*

You can't be sure

but the figure walking over seems to be singing,

mouth wide like a warm dark stone and then the song

coming close, as though the singer's inside you--

you're the lone singer!

*

...each building flanking something beyond

the mind's eye, something flickering inside an opening. Never too late. A soul. A small black purse.

from "Tog Muhoni"

You can purchase Bird-Woman directly from the publisher here.

#EmStrang #BirdWoman #ShearsmanBooks

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