The Zoo Father
Shortlisted for the 2001 T.S. Eliot Prize, this unique collection centres on a daughter’s fraught relationship with her dying father, a man whose legacy to her was violence and abandonment.
Rich in the imagery of the Amazonian jungle (fire ants, shaman masks, hummingbirds, shrunken heads, jaguars) these poems at once ward off and redeem the father through myriad transformations. In contrast, ’The Vineyard’ series is inspired by the author’s mother and by "...the last piece of wild land, / left to me by accident, by dream" - a family vineyard in France.
These intense, vibrant and fiercely felt poems are sure to evoke strong responses in readers. Refusing oblique irony, quotidian props or any pretensions to urban hipness, Pascale Petit takes considerable risks. With fierce courage, she not only survives the brutal facts of her past, but transmutes them, through vivid imagination, into art.
The Zoo Father is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.