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She Inserts the Key

She Inserts the Key

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Shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

This is a startlingly good debut by Marianne Burton. Often dark, but with a sharply concise and compelling style, these poems draw you in with a ‘look at this!’ urgency. This is a collection of voices: dodos and wallpaper chant obsessively, a cheese weeps for the calf whose milk it stole, a woman turned into soap dreams of her apotheosis as she washes into the sea. Uneasy yet fruitful juxtapositions abound: poems of war are set against poems of the natural world, a glimpse of a sparrowhawk is offset by a wider vision of the ‘River flowing under the Bank of England’. The series ‘Meditations on the Hours’, that highlights the domestic and the personal, is at the core of this group of lyrical poems. The poet’s language is both keen and voluptuous, contemplative and passionate. 

"Marianne Burton’s poems combine grace with intelligence, toughness with delicacy, and thoughtfulness with sensuality."
Andrew Motion

"Her debut collection introduces her measured and nettling style to the British poetry scene."
Roddy Lumsden

"Formally adept and inventive, linguistically charged and scrupulous, emotionally truthful and intelligent, Marianne Burton’s stylish poems demand and reward re-reading."
Michael Laskey

Marianne Burton’s poems appear in the likes of the TLS, The Rialto, The North, Poetry London and Poetry Wales. Her pamphlet The Devils’ Cut was a Poetry Book Society Choice in 2007. In 2010 she was tutored at Ty Newydd by Gillian Clarke and Carol Ann Duffy, who encouraged her to put together her first collection. She lives in London and the Welland Valley.