Grace Wells’ second collection of poems is a sustained meditation on our relationship with nature, with the flora and especially the fauna with which we share this “astonishing world”. The poems are “awed by howl and answer—/ by whatever it is that longing does / when it meets itself in the woods”.
But if the relationship can be an enabling one, allowing the poet to go beyond the limits of herself, to put seal “skin onto her back” and walk out “into darkness”, it is also one that our unthinking custodianship of the planet puts at risk.
The poems of Fur do not see the animal realm as entirely other, as a place to view or visit. Indeed much of their strength derives from a refusal to acknowledge arbitrary boundaries. We encounter animals both as themselves and as symbols of some higher power. Against this exploration of transformation and redemption is woven a glimpsed narrative of emotional struggle and survival, of love and love lost; and a delicate balance is achieved.
“A poet of depth and elegance, of sparkling intuition and studied formality, Grace Wells is one of the twelve apostles at the feast of poetry. Her work will endure for its beautiful seriousness, its style, its sense of purpose.”
– Thomas McCarthy