The dog of memory, an animal more often unbiddable and capricious than it is comforting and predictable, roams the landscapes of its choice: not only place, Helen Farish’s native Cumberland and further afield – mornings in Sicily, night skies in Athens – and people, but also the landscape of literature itself which is explored through re-readings of ten authors encountered during her school days.
Farish’s doggèd and deeply moving mediation on memory ranges far and wide, but is also weighed against a love of the present whose ‘poise is the pause of a church bell suspended / rim-up after its stroke.’ The weather of snow, which often evokes as well as muffling the past, is replaced by ‘liquefying high-sky heat.’ Rendered in poetry of dexterity and poise, this authoritative third collection takes the reader on a thrilling journey which is lyric, dramatic, enquiring.
Helen Farish won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. She has also received a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.