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New to Eloans: Carolyn Forché and Layli Long Soldier

Did you know you can sign up to borrow poetry ebooks for free, all without having to leave your home? We'll be bringing you some of our top picks from our eloans collection over the coming weeks.

In the Lateness of the World / Carolyn Forché
Hexham, Northumberland : Bloodaxe Books, 2020

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After a seventeen-year hiatus, American ‘poet of witness’ Carolyn Forché casts her visionary eye over human civilisation in this breathtaking new collection. It plumbs the national and global traumas and horrors we’ve suffered throughout history, together and apart, painting scenes of cities where "even the clocks have run out of time". Her style is expansive, deft yet profound and speaks to our present climate: "It is like night. We are waiting to breathe again". In an endangered world, vision becomes compass, and through the graceful turn of her prosaic lines Forché elevates our viewpoint so you can see "every moment you have lived or place you have been".  Maybe poetry is at its most powerful when we realise it can breach borders to illuminate the darkest of waters: "I will see that you arrive safely, my friend, I will get you there."

WHEREAS / Layli Long Soldier
Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press, 2017

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"Layli Long Soldier is one of the finest singers of her generation to be called through the doorway of poetry," writes Joy Harjo, the Poet Laureate of the US. This debut collection by a Native American poet is one of the most influential and important works of poetry published in the last five years, but it has largely gone under the radar in the UK. WHEREAS is staggering in its ambition, poetic experimentation, and extraordinary emotional power. These poems confront language loss, motherhood and colonial violence. “Everything is in the language we use,” Long Soldier writes in the poem '38', a central piece in the book, about the hanging of 38 Dakota men in 1862 by orders of President Lincoln. Long Soldier explodes language and syntax in order to de-construct ‘official’ narratives and historical documents. For this poet, language begins with the body: “If I’m transformed by language, I am often / crouched in footnote or blazing in title. / Where in the body do I begin;”.

Fe-lines: French cat poems through the ages / Norman R. Shapiro
Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2015

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In this current climate where social distancing between humans is essential, it seems appropriate to celebrate pets and there is no better way to do that than by reading this anthology of cat poems translated by the well-known translator Norman Shapiro. The collection contains a wide range of French poets, varying between different time periods, regions and between very different lives, which perfectly demonstrates the universal appeal (and benefit to countless lives) that cats have had throughout history. One favourite from this beautifully illustrated compilation is ‘Halloween 2006’ by Robert Paquin which evokes the mystery and powerful symbolism of black cats. Readers are sure to find the most appropriate poem to devote to their cat between these pages — all breeds and personalities are represented.  

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