Jean Sprackland’s third collection describes a world in free-fall. Chaos and calamity are at our shoulder, in the shape of fire and flood, ice-storm and hurricane; trains stand still, zoos are abandoned, migrating birds lose their way – all surfaces are unreliable, all territories unmapped.
These are poems that explore the ambivalence and dark unease of slippage and collapse, but they also carry a powerful sense of the miraculous made manifest amongst the ordinary: the mating of natterjack toads, ice on the beach (‘dream stuff, with its own internal acoustic’) or ‘the fund of life’ in a used contraceptive. Bracken may run wild across the planet ‘waiting for the moment/to pounce on the accident/of the discarded match’ but there are also the significant wonders of children and the natural beauty of the world they’ve inherited. Tilt is a collection of raw, distressed and beautiful poems, a hymn to the remarkable survival of things in the face of threat – for every degradation an epiphany, for every drowning a birth.