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Gospel Oak by Sharon Morris | 15-Oct-16

Staff Pick from our Poetry Library Open Day 2015.

Our 2016 Open Day takes places on Sunday 16th October. More details here:

Gospel Oak / Sharon Morris -- London: Enitharmon Press, 2012

Is there such a thing as a book excavating itself? Word by word, line by line, page by page, there is more to Gospel Oak than meets the eye, ear and heart. Repetition is integral and fundamental. ‘There can’t be repetition without rhythm, rhyme, and echoes...the accumulated meaning of Gospel Oak is built on repetition.’ It is a visceral book with sinewy themes connecting across time, space and loss.

The lines are knitted together through a deep exploration of poetic form and voice: ‘the poems bleeding into one and another’. Sharon Morris describes it as 'writing across a whole field... everything coming to fruition at the same time...it is about taking a cross section to make a whole book.' Gospel Oak was indeed excavated: 'the final order not found till later on as the relationships between thought and emotion shifted and formed an accumulative movement', as though the 'whole book' dictated the final steps towards a sense of completeness - leading the poet’s eye, ear and heart to let go of what was no longer needed: 'there are a few poems that are unfinished, poems that didn't work or poems left out, that didn't feel they fitted'. There are few poets with such integrity.

Saradha Soobrayen
Library Assistant

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