The Estate Agent’s Daughter
A National Poetry Day Recommended Read 2020
The Estate Agent’s Daughter is Rhian Edwards’ eagerly awaited follow-up to her multi-prizewinning debut Clueless Dogs. Her voice is both powerfully personal, local to her Bridgend birthplace, and performative, born to be read aloud. In the title poem, the protagonist has become a surrealist house, with dream-like details ‘carpeted with sycamore seeds and cherry blossom throughout’; the sturdy realism of a writing desk ‘nudged/ to the brink of the bay’, as well as points of sharp irony: ‘all mod cons’. This poem foreshadows both the heartbreak (a shattered first marriage) and joy (the birth of a daughter), that feature in the work that follows. We also have pieces of sly irony, of disillusioned dating. There is an engaging diptych devoted to a recently deceased grandmother and grandfather, who died within months of each other, whose vivid personalities with all their tragi-comic elements, shine through. The author combines her visceral skill for description, for these are poems based in the body, with a feminist forthright courage to speak of difficult things.
“Brilliant, visceral poems. Reading them feels like being led through beautiful rooms by an estate agent who always takes care to show you what’s hidden beneath the floorboards.” – Joe Dunthorne
“The Estate Agent’s Daughter is fast-talking, wise-cracking and worldly wise with the particular knowledge of women, while the range of poems is impressive from the downright hilarious to poignant poems about loss. The speakers in these poems are not satisfied by an unlived life, and they show us too how women can be imprisoned by the domestic, by marriage, or conventional ideas of happiness. Yet the women do break out, like ‘Blodeuwedd’ who tries to “uproot the stones of this prison,” and Edwards shows that women can subvert allotted roles, for example by being mothers and lovers. Both funny and endearing, The Estate Agent’s Daughter measures up beautifully.” – Zoë Brigley
“After the ebullience of her first collection, Rhian Edwards has written a second filled with motherhood, money and difficult relationships. This is certainly a volume in which the poet shows she has grown up. The tones are darker, the moods more worldly. I’d say The Estate Agent’s Daughter is a necessary reading experience for anyone embarking, or trying to survive, their fortieth decade.” – Robert Minhinnick