Polly Clark’s most recent collection is about leaving one’s life and returning a stranger. In poems which are moving and often darkly comic, she explores the ways in which we try to hang on to what we were and the ways in which we accept that everything we were certain of has gone forever.
A rich and appealingly mysterious collection in which the end of youth, the birth of a child and the strangeness of marriage are filtered through an exact imagination, whose great strengths lie in taking nothing for granted and finding the point where the ordinary and the eternal intersect.’ - Sean O’Brien, Sunday Times
‘Clark has a gift for startling, truthful analysis, for example of the power of marriage and our vulnerability within it: ‘Its strength shocked me./ Dragged me. Reset me.’ There are resonant poems about female experience which are also searingly universal…. Throughout the poems in Farewell My Lovely ideas are anchored in the real world with recognisable images, but suddenly wrenched out of the commonplace, shocking the reader out of any complacency. These are poems you can return to again and again. I recommend that you do.’ - Catherine Czerkawska, Edinburgh Review
The landscape of Polly Clark’s Take Me With You is strange and dangerous, her narrators searching for answers to questions about the nature of human attachment. Her acclaimed first book Kiss took the reader on a journey into the self: in this new collection, the journey turns outwards and explores the ways in which we connect with others and the wider world.
Her characters speak in many voices, both animal and human, bringing into focus the moments when we are most alive and most alone. The poems are unsettling, even as they are compelling, taking the reader from the last performance of a virtuoso octopus, to the dizzying industry of a Chinese city, to the vast and lonely seascapes of the Scottish coast.
“Not many poets have worked, as Clark has, in a zoo. Animals, in all their violence and strength and beauty, play an important part in her repertoire of reference and subtly inform her presentation of human experience, from birth to death, from ecstasy to profound grief.
But this isn’t comfortable poetry. Clark wastes no words, makes no concessions to timid readers: offers instead moments of vision of tremendous intensity and charge. These are poems of an alert imagination and a strongly original mind, poems that run along the dangerous edge of things, risky and skillful as an acrobat. What you get from Clark is the electrical impulse, rather than the narrative voice – poems to stiffen the hairs on the back of your neck. A breathtakingly assured first collection.” - U.A Fanthorpe