One of the books I ordered in that lovely break between Christmas and going back to work was Jean Sprackland's recent collection, Sleeping Keys. I had previously enjoyed Jean's collection, Tilt, which won the Costa Poetry Prize, so I was looking forward to this one, not least because houses were on my mind, having spent nearly a year searching for a new house.
This collection is full of houses - leaving them, observing empty and abandoned houses, watching the building of houses. For instance, the title poem, Sleeping Keys, refers to that collection that we all have in the back of a drawer somewhere, of keys whose purpose is no longer quite remembered (but if you are like me, you are reluctant to throw out, in case they should suddenly be needed). There is Moving the Piano, in which the clamourous room fades/to a tinnitus of dust and dead wasps. Sprackland's keen observations lift ordinary tasks out of the mundane, for instance in Clearing the Drain where the clear water surges, blinding/and purging like white light. And Taking Down the Scaffolding ends What love you need/to dismatle the structure you're standing on
You can read a full poem from the collection at Jean Sprackland's website here (and there are poems from earlier collections, too). Or even better, buy the book!
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