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The Red Wardrobe

Sarah Corbett
Publication Date: 
Thursday, May 14, 1998
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A voice of considerable power and intensity emerges from the work of Sarah Corbett. She is less interested in the everyday aspects of reality than in "what moves beneath the surface of my own, and others’ experience". This infuses her poems with mystery and with the intent of discovery. They resound with atmosphere and frequently invoke images from the natural world. Two notable themes (each with a series of poems) recur. The first is based on the author’s experience of her mother’s absence as a young child. In some poems the mother appears like a benevolent ghost, a figure the protagonist is "always waiting for", in others she is more ambiguous, or even "an imposter". The second major series derives from the author’s childhood in rural Wales and her particular fascination for horses. Horses appear in both the actual and imaginative senses, as icons for strength, freedom and unbridled erotic energy. The Red Wardrobe is a startling debut by an exciting young writer, it was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

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