Crossing the Snowline

Crossing the Snowline

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Pauline Stainer is a poet "working at the margins of the sacred", conveying sensations "with an economy of means that is breathtakingÖ her poems are not merely artefacts, they have an organic life of their own" (John Burnside).

Her new collection Crossing the Snowline charts her return to life after numbing grief. These luminous poems are a testament of recovery, renewal and redemption.

Pauline Stainer writes: "I think this collection, varied as it is, is primarily the record of my journey out of long fallow after the death of my daughter. It's not confessional, but explores obliquely the nature of that fallow, and the necessity of living by light even in darkness. Many things inform the poems: my learning to paint (ëthe swirling oxides'), light on landscape in different places, Suffolk, Orkney, India, Japan, the AzoresÖ For a time, grief took away the magical currency of the word ñ a strange experience for a poet. I had to wait with the patience of one of those pack animals from the salt desert, for an upbeat ñ the pressure of sap in sunlight on ground of vermilion. And yes, the light is different. It's afterlight. But I'm still driven to catch in words the stars and their electric circus, and to write in praise of flying squirrels."

"Pauline Stainer is one of those few, electrifying poets who truly, strangely, change our perceptions."
Vuyelwa Carlin, Poetry Wales

"Her territory is predominantly that of legend: its symbols and its creatures ñ the unicorn, the falcon, the serpent ñ but she often draws them into a contemporary setting where they neither shed power nor lose meaning. Her purpose is not so much to import the ancient world into the modern as to demonstrate that those worlds are of a piece: that old rituals still obtain, that old beliefs still govern instinct."
David Harsent, Poetry Book Society Bulletin

"Pauline Stainer writes sacred poetry for the scientific twenty-first century. Her poetry preserves a surety of vision, insisting that belief can only increase with knowledge, and that wisdom and faith are still provinces of careful, crystalline language."
Anne Stevenson