Slant Light

Sarah Westcott

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ISBN: 9781781382929

Publication: February 26, 2016

Series: Pavilion Poetry

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In her first full-length collection, Sarah Westcott immerses the human self in the natural world, giving voice to a remarkable range of flora and fauna so often silenced or unheard. Here, the voiceless speaks, laments and sings - from the fresh voice of a spring wood to a colony of bats or a grove of ancient sequioa trees. Unafraid of using scientific language and teamed with a clear eye, Westcott’s poems are drawn directly from the natural world, questioning ideas of the porosity of boundaries between the human and non-human and teeming with detail. A series of lyrical charms inspired by Anglo-Saxon texts draw on the specificity of the botanical and its spoken heritage, suggesting a relevance that resonates today. Westcott’s poems are alive to the beautiful in the commonplace and offer up a precise honouring of the wild, while retaining a deeply-felt sense of connection with a planet in peril.

Sarah Westcott’s debut pamphlet Inklings was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for Winter 2013. Her poems have been published in journals including Poetry Review, Magma and Poetry Wales and in anthologies including Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt). Sarah grew up in north Devon, on the edge of Exmoor, and has a keen interest in the natural world. She holds a science degree and an MA in poetry from Royal Holloway, University of London. Sarah lives on the London/Kent borders with her family and, after a spell teaching English abroad, works as a news journalist.

Spring Wood
Downy Mildew
For the Love of Young Leaf

The Mariposa Trees
Fallen Monarch
The Faithful Couple
Wawona Tunnel Tree

The Vegetable Lamb
Green Giant
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Little Red
Pox Charm
Charm for Delayed Birth
Charm for a Lost Child
Still Life
Sculpting a Mole
The Cannots
The Green Flash
And then he started singing again
Charm Against a Wen
Black and Blue
We are listening
Notes and Acknowledgements

Here is a poet deeply engaged with the natural and the human world and their relationship. The poems stay in the mind and draw the reader back. Slant Light is an outstanding collection.
Myra Schneider   Artemis Poetry

Invoking the sinister, slanted light of Emily Dickinson's poem, in her first full-length collection Sarah Westcott casts her eye on a world teeming with organisms at once organic, artificial and mystical. Rooted in the natural world, the poems are concerned with the frail membranes that partition plant from animal matter, perfectly embodied in the image of 'The Vegetable Lamb' - mythological plant believed to bear sheep as fruit. Revealing how firmly the spores of the ancient natural world are embedded in the contemporary, the collection is also a stark reminder of a world "quietly consuming itself".
  Literary Loper

Slant Light is a book of charms and wonders, full of birds and flowers. But Sarah Westcott is too good a poet to simply charm us, and the work here is fierce with intelligence, compassion and the sheer exuberance of attending to what Hopkins called ‘the dearest freshness deep down things’. A super debut.
Jacob Polley  

I have been waiting eagerly for a full collection from Sarah Westcott. Now it is here I am dazzled. So imaginative are the poems in Slant Light it's as if she pulls her language from a fantastical place; Westcott takes us deep into the natural world, makes us understand its physical urgency, ‘the insistence of air’. She has a microscopic eye. Everything we encounter here – the bat, the mole, the hare, the flower – is so finely described, things rise up from the page. This is not just a book of poems, it is a book of rich, exquisite shapes, providing a new understanding of how ‘we sense the bright world’.

Rebecca Goss  

Format: Paperback

Size: 189 x 118 mm

65 Pages

Copyright: © 2016

ISBN: 9781781382929

Publication: February 26, 2016

Series: Pavilion Poetry

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