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They Who Saw the Deep
Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson
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At the heart of They Who Saw the Deep is the nature of water; water as giver and taker of life, luxuriant and lethal in equal measures. From the Libyan Sea to the savage sands of Morecambe Bay to the banks of the River Lune in the north of England where the poet’s ancestors were rowed across the river in their coffins to their final resting place. The eponymous sequence of poems finds the poet in the illusory safety of her kitchen whilst the outer world grows increasingly disturbed with wars and wild weather. It is set against the backdrop of the shipping forecast and weaves the myths and legends of the ancient Mesopotamians through a litany of migrations down the ages to the present day.
Reviews, Interviews, Performances
- Peter Riley, "Poetry Notes." Fortnightly Review (2017). "Geraldine Monk's poetry clearly belongs in the "innovative" box . . ."
- Sarah Perkins, "A Lot of Uneasily Placed Exacting Words Floating in Alien Space: A Conversation with Geraldine Monk on They Who Saw the Deep."
- Nancy Gaffield reviews They Who Saw the Deep in Tears in the Fence 64 (Autumn 2016)
- Carol Rumens's Poem of the Week, The Guardian, 18 July 2016.
- BBC Radio 3 ("Dawn Chorus"; commissioned poem): http://bbc.in/20JyYu8 (May, 2016)
- WriteOutLoud review by Steven Waling (6 July 2016)
- Poetry London 85 (Autumn 2016). Review by Emma Hammond. "This is a timely book that discusses political struggle and denial with a nuance that is absolutely necessary in the current climate."
- Magma Poetry 66 (Winter 2016). Reviewed by Jane Routh.
Praise for Geraldine Monk's Poetry
You would recognize these poems even if the author was not named: the breath-taking enjambment, apparently casual anecdotes that lead into deeper truths, the tension between wordplay—the use of regional dialect words, the mixing of registers ranging from the banal to the arcane—and the terrifying events these poems enact. This is extraordinary, compelling and expansive work from one of this country's most significant poets. —Nancy Gaffield (Review, Tears in the Fence 64 (Autumn 2016)
Geraldine Monk’s poetry is a treasure and They Who Saw the Deep is extravagant proof. A vocabulary ripe to the point of ferment. Lines lithe and various. Gritty dazzle. Vertiginous control. The title sequence is a water-torn triumph, a mercurial inventory of birds, wars, seas, weathers, vegetables and wrecks. With kinetic brilliance and valorous abandon, Monk forages the deeps. —Catherine Wagner
Her poetry is always a cause for celebration...a carnival zone, various, gracious, outrageous. It unleashes the energy of wit into the field force of language itself, wit as an improvisatory method crafting voices through electrically alive craftiness. —Adam Piette (Poetry Review)
Monk’s poetry crackles with oppositions: between the individualism of lyric utterance and the political context in which it takes place; between the opacity produced by her densely-patterned sounds and a plain-spoken brusqueness. —Paul Batchelor (The Guardian).
About the Author
Geraldine Monk's poetry was first published in the 1970s and has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. Her main collections include Interregnum (Creation Books) and Escafeld Hangings (West House Books). The Salt Companion to Geraldine Monk edited by Scott Thurston appeared in 2007, and in 2012 she edited the collective autobiography of selected British poets in Cusp: Recollections of Poetry in Transition (Shearman Books). She is an affiliated poet at the Centre of Poetry and Poetics at The University of Sheffield, U.K.
- Read more about Geraldine Monk at the Poetry Foundation.