Auscultation means listening and specifically, in medicine, listening to sounds that come from the body’s internal organs. If listening is a central theme of this collection, it is also about being heard. Ilse Pedler is poet of breadth and depth. There are poems about waiting rooms and surgical instruments, about crisis calls, about overhearing farmers and pet owners and colleagues. There are poems about surviving a stern childhood and a heartbreaking sequence about being a stepmother. This is a compelling set of poems from a striking new voice.
“In this unique and utterly original collection, Ilse Pedler explores the brutal and beautiful world of being a vet and a stepmother. This is a book filled with blood, but also with air and light, a book of hard-won knowledge, a book that is both pragmatic and tender, about listening and being listened to, and the types of care we give and receive.” – Kim Moore
“‘Listen’, listen closely, these poems ask. Draw near and pay intimate attention to the minute beats and actions that surround and connect us – those of animals, other humans, and the environment. As a practising veterinary surgeon ‘at the warmth’s core’, Pedler explores the daily dramas and dilemmas of the consulting room, the operating theatre, the field, and brings in wider themes of scientific knowledge, family, fairytales, and belonging. The precision in her language matches the precision in her noticing, as we recognise how ‘our bodies are never silent’ and she helps us marvel at ‘the soft persistence of tissue’.” – Heidi Williamson