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She Inserts the Key

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 highlight 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

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