Aug 032022

You can buy The social decline of the oystercatcher here with free worldwide delivery from Blackwell’s.

Passionate, painful, witty, loving, long-sighted

Sue Vickerman’s eerily prophetic poems describe Nature and the old normal before flood and famine, wildfires and too-close war. Scottish landscapes, seabirds and fresh air provide the setting for innocuous pre-pandemic behaviours: beach-combing, bird-watching, bickering. But the breeze blowing through this volume carries a prescient whiff of decay – an uncanny foretelling of what has come to pass.
The natural world is shifting, changing, not ‘normal’ at all. Everywhere there are portents: the rotting stomach of the boat dragged from the lake; the disused nests that bring down the tree; the oystercatcher’s social decline – it seems even seabirds are in retreat ‘from the encroaching edge of the sea’.
Nowadays all are aware that Nature is the treasure we are losing. These poems from the turn of the millenium are full of foreboding – but who among us did not see the writing on the wall?

This new edition of the second of Sue Vickerman’s five poetry volumes has been revised for current times.

A breathless, breathtaking collection, nature au naturel: poetry refracted in the prism of her beacon eye, as effortless as a fulmar’s flight… Birds given tongue and tangy taste… This riotous palette of colourful, heartfelt, sharply poignant, piercingly topical experience [is] a glorious achievement.
the late Magnus Magnusson

…poems [that] remind those of us who write only in lists how much we need rhythm in our lives… A reminder of what really matters in this hectic world.
Sandi Toksvig

This is passionate, laconic poetry of a distinguished kind. Vickerman is best at the very exact landscape poetry which suggests, and sometimes defines, the emotions with which it is associated. But her versatility is such that she is also brilliant at interiors, like ‘Tate Gallery, Turner’s unfinished room’, aural events (‘Hearing about John Lennon’) and even that bizarre thing student life (‘The rise of the rock dove’). The bird poems need reading and re-reading; the empathy is acute, but don’t let that put you off – these poems aren’t really about birds. And yet they are. Painful, witty, loving, long-sighted – I seem to be running out of adjectives. And no wonder.
the late U.A. Fanthorpe

Buy it with free delivery worldwide from Blackwell’s here.