Was It for This: Poems

Was It for This: Poems cover

Was It for This: Poems

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A hybrid new collection from the author of Three Poems—about London, terror, new motherhood, the Grenfell Tower fire, and how we live now.

Hannah Sullivan’s first collection, Three Poems, won the T. S. Eliot Prize and the inaugural John Pollard International Poetry Prize. Was It for This continues that book’s project, offering a trenchant exploration of the ways in which we attempt to map our lives in space and time.

But there is also the wider, collective experience to contend with, the upheaval of historic event and present disaster. “Tenants,” the first poem, is an elegy for Grenfell, written from the uneasy perspective of a new mother living a few streets away. Elsewhere, from the terraces and precincts of seventies and eighties London to the late-at-night decks of American suburbs, intimately inhabited geographies provide reference points and sites for revisiting.

Nothing is too small or unlovely to be transfixed by the poet’s attention, from the thin concrete pillars of a flyover to an elderly peacock’s broken train. There is a memorializing strain in the forensic accumulation of detail, but there is also celebration, a keen sense of holding on to and cherishing what we can.

Hannah Sullivan lives in London and teaches English at Oxford. She studied Classics at Cambridge, and then lived in the United States for a decade. Three Poems is her debut collection. It was awarded the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize and the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize.

ISBN: 9780374607982

ISBN-10: 9780374607982

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: 01/24/2023 - 12:00am

On Sale: 01/24/2023 - 12:00am

Pages: 128

Language: English


Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Family

Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss

Poetry / Women Authors