The TLS on Abegail: ‘a talent for the cool, long-lined lyric. Snow Child, her second collection, is rife with the viscerally felt modulations of a mind ill at ease,’
Abegail Morley is guest poetry editor at The New Writer and newbooks magazine. Her collection How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon 2009) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection (2010); the title poem was previously nominated for Best Single Poem. Her second collection, Snow Child was published by Pindrop Press in 2011.
She was nominated for the London Best New Poet Award 2010 and has won or been placed in various competitions including the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award; Agenda Poetry; The Frogmore Prize and the Canterbury Festival Competition. Her work appears in a wide range of journals including Anon; Assent; Envoi, Financial Times; The Frogmore Papers; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Interpreter’s House; Iota; New Walk Magazine; Other Poetry;Poetry Review; The SHOp; Snakeskin and The Spectator.
She is also in the following anthologies: The Forward Book of Poetry (2011); Balancing Act and Other Poems (2011); Did I Tell You? 131 Poems for Children in Need (2010); The Sandhopper Lover and Other Stories (2009).
You can read Abegail’s blog, featuring the work of a wide range of poets, here.
Pindrop is thrilled to be publishing a second collection of Abegail’s: Eva and George, Sketches in Pen and Brush, a beautiful collection of poetry and art that recreates significant moments from the life of Berlin painter George Gross – in the imagined voice of his wife Eva.
‘These are fine, hard-bitten poems with the imaginative strength and resonance to stand alongside the work of George Grosz without being in any way diminished by it. The realisation of Eva Peter’s voice is a triumph, and introduces Abegail Morley as one of our most impressive and rewarding poets.’
Peter Bennet, Border (Bloodaxe)
‘Abegail Morley skilfully captures the rawness of George Grosz’s acerbic images of despots and outcasts in post WWI Germany, while tenderly evoking a portrait of the man behind the art. In lucidly-voiced poems spoken by his wife, Eva Peter, she explores the passion and compassion that drove him. In doing so, she reminds us of the casual and calculated malice we are capable of inflicting on each other in daily living, and that ‘We are those passers-by’.’
Heidi Williamson, Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe)
‘Abegail Morley’s sequence, Eva and George – Sketches in Pen and Brush, marked by both authenticity and originality, impresses with startling imagery and the striking juxtaposition of the private and the public. Her poetic account of George Grosz and Eva Peter’s life in the Weimar Republic is at the same time a compelling panorama of a whole era characterized by struggle, violence and radicalism.’
Wolfgang Görtschacher, Poetry Salzburg Review/Poetry Salzburg
‘An affecting sequence, Morley impresses with a startling account of a private and public existence in a Germany transforming itself after the First World War. Stark images of despots and outcasts mirror the artist’s paintings, but Morley’s engaging account of passion and malice, and dramatic exploration into Grosz’s inspiration, adds more colour to a richly imaginative collection.’
PBS Bulletin Winter 13
Here is a sample poem:
You chronicle all that is sick in your satires,
wear a striped convict’s suit in your studio
to paint out your revolutionary ideas.
Fox-like you sneak up on chickens
in the hen house, scatter them into the rot
of farm smells: dung, sweat, faeces.
You’re the big bad wolf of fairy tales
blowing the roof off Berlin: a hunter,
a warrior, a battle omen of victory.
You howl at the black knot of sky,
scrape at the dust, the concrete city streets,
Nazi blood in your teeth and claws.
You warn the blinkered donkeys of Germany
that these are their last days.
‘Sonnenfinsternis’ = eclipse of the sun
The collection will be available for purchase in the Pindrop shop post-launch.
“Abegail Morley’s ‘Snow Child’ gifts us bold, unflinching, memorable poems, dazzling in their precision and clarity. This is a poet who faces life’s wonders, complexities and losses head-on, and invites us on a lyrical journey which will, at times, take our breath away.” Catherine Smith, ‘Next Generation’ poet, author of The New Bride, The Butcher’s Hands and Lip (Smith Doorstop) and The Biting Point (Speechbubble Books).
“At the heart of Abegail Morley’s powerful second collection is a deep sense of loss. The poems work at countering that loss with tangible visceral images that both disturb and sing with their own gorgeousness. Morley has captured just what it feels like to be living inside a skin so thin, the sun burns right through in all its lucid glory.” Helen Ivory, whose third Bloodaxe Books collection is The Breakfast Machine
“Intensely personal poems of love, desertion, obsession, written with great skill and delicacy yet with a disturbing sparsity and uncanny detachment. Snow Child is a captivating and impressive collection.” Malcolm Carson, poet, editor of Other Poetry
Here is a poem from the collection:
At the back of the cellar jam jars line the wall,
sometimes I see hands move against the glass,
wipe the inside and two eyes squint,
their lashes pulling up and down,
bubbles skating to the rim.
I don’t know who screwed the lids on -
they run with rust in autumn
and when I hold them my hands corrode,
taste of metal. On the lid Peaches
in blue ink streaks across it, done in a rush
in a steaming kitchen. Now, in summer, it dries
itself, rises up then lies down for winter.
In spring the jar needs a shake to break
the ice. I turn it upside down like a snow globe
and eyes and fingers collide in the syrup.