Read Judy's poem ‘Greenery’ on the National Poetry Day website
Lairs brings together something primal and secret – the lair as haven for a wild or feral animal – with the poem framed as a mathematical equation. In these terms, the ‘lair’ is a kind of nest, a beautiful accumulation of dense detail.
The tension between order and disorder in these poems is informed by mathematics after Judy Brown’s residency at Exeter University’s Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. There she was inspired by specialists in uncertainty quantification, a branch of mathematics that seeks to estimate the uncertainty on model predictions.
The poems are introspective, by turns analytical, fearful and mocking in their response to the systems shaping an altered world. The use of language is innovative, while maintaining moments of vulnerability and moving self-awareness. In these exquisite poems, the lair is both the community at large and a dark and intricate interior space where something wild still survives.
Lairs follows on from Judy’s previous two collections, PBS-recommended Crowd Sensations (2016), which was shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize and Loudness (2011) was shortlisted for the Forward and Fenton Aldeburgh first collection prizes.
”Sometimes narky, sometimes tender and afraid, each poem offers up its own shock of uneasy wonder. Judy Brown troubles the edges of certainty in poems that greet us with a glittering strangeness. This is a thrilling and compulsive collection.“ – Kathryn Simmonds
Watch the full online launch of ‘Lairs’: