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The finest living British poet comes to Cape with her extraordinary new book Winner of the 2017 Griffin Prize Winner of the 2016 Costa Poetry Award Shortlisted for the 2016 T. S. Eliot Award Shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize A Daily Telegraph / Guardian / Herald / New Statesman / Sunday Times / Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year

Winner of the 2017 Griffin Prize
Winner of the 2016 Costa Poetry Award

Shortlisted for the 2016 T. S. Eliot Award
Shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize


A Daily Telegraph / Guardian / Herald / New Statesman / Sunday Times / Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year

Alice Oswald’s poems are always vivid and distinct, alert and deeply, physically, engaged in the natural world. Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this new collection and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature.

Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.

Orpheus and Tithonus appear at the beginning and end of this book, alive in an English landscape, stuck in the clockwork of their own speech, and the Hours – goddesses of the seasons and the natural apportioning of Time – are the presiding figures. The persistent conditions are flux and falling, and the lines are in constant motion: approaching, from daring new angles, our experience of being human, and coalescing into poems of simple, stunning beauty.

Reviews

She says that poetry is what happens when language becomes impossible. If you’ve never read her – get this collection now.

Jeanette Winterson, Guardian, Book of the Year

[A] modern classic.

Jeremy Noel-Tod, Sunday Times, Book of the Year

A miraculous collection.

Kate Kellaway, Observer, Book of the Year

A liminal text… Unmistakably original.

Craig Raine, Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year

A sublime poet of the natural world.

Rupert Thomson, Herald, Book of the Year

An astonishing book of beauty, intensity and poise – a revelation…The collection’s title is spot on. I cannot think of any poet who is more watchful or with a greater sense of gravity.

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Stunning. Is she now our greatest living poet[?]… Her work is commanding… She is less twinkly-eyed than Simon Armitage, more committed to experimentation than Duffy and just as playful…as Don Paterson. For sheer, sustained invention and intellectual rigour, her work is perhaps closest to Kei Miller… If there’s any justice in the poetry world, the title [Poet Laureate] should be offered to this gardener-classicist who is bringing the British landscape to life in poetry again.

Charlotte Runcie, Daily Telegraph

The pieces included here are held together by Oswald’s luminous, almost alien powers of observation.

Yasmine Seale, Literary Review

Magic, the music of nature, the resurrection of the dead: all these feel real when you read Alice Oswald. Her stunning new collection deserves the Forward Prize.

Sunday Telegraph

[It] confirms her as one of the most gifted English poets of the past 20 years.

Jeremy Noel-Todd, Sunday Times

She is a classicist and a gardener, an expert in the epic tradition and a riverside wanderer… Falling Awake provides the notation for an immersive aural experience; its current existence as a printed collection is not the incarnation for which it will be most celebrated, should Oswald choose to record it as a performance… It is certainly a strong contender in this year’s Forward Prizes, and a highly compelling meditation upon transience.

Phil Brown, Huffington Post

She not only makes some startlingly original imaginative leaps, but also manages to find the word to describe the scene when she lands.

Roger Cox, Scotland on Sunday

It does not disappoint… Fierce in the quality of her attention, often metaphorically dazzling, Oswald earns our trust through her authority.

Fiona Sampson, Guardian

Falling Awake continues to mine a fresh, inventive seam of observational poetry, tuned in to revelation and a feeling for those moments when the world seems to become strangely, truly itself. Oswald’s best poems bear comparison with D. H. Lawrence’s late work.

John McAuliffe, Irish Times

[It is] Terrific.

Mark Ford, Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year

A gorgeous collection incorporating mythology and the everyday in nature… [Oswald’s is] a rare and beautiful voice.

Clare Mulley, Skinny, Book of the Year

Here we find an intriguing poet with a distinctive voice and an eye for those fascinating collisions between the ordinary and the poetic… Falling Awake is distinguished particularly by the sheer brilliance of Oswald’s expression. Simple images are transformed by the perfect cadence, the perfect assonance to create an image… It is the mark of a truly skilled versifier that their greatest strength be the one that we might most expect in a poet, yet which is so rare – the ability to craft a verse that captures an image and elevates it by revealing its poetry.

Dan Etches, Oxford Student

Making it onto The Forward Prize for Best Collection Shortlist, it does not disappoint when it described the beauty of birds and insects. Keep it in your bag for bus journeys.

Culture Whisper, Book of the Year

Falling Awake is easily one of the most accomplished collections of the past few years.

Leaf Arbuthnot, The Times

An absolute delight, with each carefully crafted line a revelation. Just try reading the lines out loud, and wait for the magic to catch you.

Western Morning News

In her most recent collection, Falling Awake, we find Oswald maintaining her thoughtful and intimate connection with nature and mythology… Oswald is one of Britain’s greatest and most admired poets, and Falling Awake shows us why.

Brad Davies, Independent

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781910702437

    July 15, 2016

    Jonathan Cape

    96 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781784702687

    July 7, 2016

    Vintage Digital

    96 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Awards and Recognition

  • Costa Poetry Award
    2017
    Winner
    Costa

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