To be alive is to be inside the wave, always travelling until it breaks and is gone. These poems are concerned with the borderline between the living and the dead - the underworld and the human living world - and the exquisitely intense being of both. They possess a spare, eloquent lyricism as they explore the bliss and anguish of the voyage. Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore's tenth and final poetry book, was her first since The Malarkey (2012), whose title-poem won the National Poetry Competition. Her final poem, 'Hold out your arms', written shortly before her death and not included in the first printing of Inside the Wave, was added to all subsequent printings. Her posthumous retrospective, Counting Backwards: Poems 1975-2017 (2019), covers ten collections she published over four decades up to and including Inside the Wave. Costa Book of the Year 2017, winner of the 2017 Costa Poetry Award
Posthumous winner of Costa Book of the Year 2017, this was the final collection by the renowned poet and novelist, much of it written from her sickbed while facing death. With spare, eloquent lyricism, they explore the borderline between the living and the dead - the underworld and the human living world - and the exquisitely intense being of both.
11 Counting Backwards 12 The Underworld 13 Shutting the Gate 14 In Praise of the Piano 15 Re-opening the old mines 16 Inside the Wave 18 Odysseus to Elpenor 20 Plane tree outside Ward 78 21 The shaft 22 Leave the door open 23 My life's stem was cut 24 The Bare Leg 26 The Place of Ordinary Souls 27 My daughter as Penelope 29 The Lamplighter 30 The Halt 31 Bluebell Hollows 32 A Loose Curl 33 Festival of stone 34 A Bit of Love 35 Winter Balcony with Dunnocks 36 Mimosa 37 Nightfall in the IKEA Kitchen 39 The Duration 41 At the Spit 42 Terra Incognita 43 Four cormorants, one swan 44 Girl in the Blue Pool 45 February 12th 1994 46 What shall I do for my sister in the day she shall be spoken for? 47 In Secret 48 All the breaths of your life 49 Her children look for her 50 Cliffs of Fall 51 Five Versions from Catullus 51 1 Through Babel of Nations 52 2 Undone 53 3 Sirmio 54 4 Dedication 55 5 Sparrow 56 Rim 57 On looking through the handle of a cup 58 Ten Books 60 Subtraction 61 My people 62 September Rain 69 Hold out your arms
We all felt this is a modern classic; a fantastic collection, life-affirming and uplifting. The poems carry powerful messages that speak to all of us. -- Wendy Holden * Chair of Judges, Costa Book of the Year 2017 *An astonishing set of poems - a final, great achievement. -- Moniza Alvi, Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Nick Wroe * Costa Poetry Award judges *Inside the Wave shows us not only what it is to be alive, but what it is like to be alive and to be mortal. It is a very special book indeed. -- Moniza Alvi * The Guardian *
Costa Book of the Year
Bloodaxe Books Ltd