Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Unknown woman poet wins prize

Eleanor Ross Taylor apparently doesn't do readings, her work's been out of print for years but at 90 she's been recognised by the American Poetry Foundation and given the Ruth Lilly Award. I'll be buying her book.....she writes about my life in a way that feeels uncannily accurate. Reading her work on the web gave me the same shiver as when I discovered Selima Hill and Edna St Vincent Millay.

This is what Kevin Prufer writes on the US National Book Critics blog:

'Her speakers are most often mothers and wives thinking about their grown children, the complexities of marriage, and (increasingly in the later poems) their responsibilities to the dead and their own impending demise.'

Here are some tasters of her work:

from The Diary (Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems 1960 - 2008, Louisiana State University Press)

Contrary to belief, the word diary
means undivulged; clues trail
the pages and the trail breaks off,
scent's lost. Wandering is
the only way out of this place.

And you can read the next poem, Woman as Artist, at www.poetryfoundation.org

I’m mother.
I hunt alone.
There is no bone
Too dry for me, mother...

And another woman writer who deserves much more recognition is Stevie Davies, based in south Wales. Her latest novel, Into Suez is published by Parthian. It's one of the best contemporary novels I've read - it has an international sweep, it's honest, brave and emotionally wrenching. The plot is incredible and the characters walk off the street they are so real. It questions so much about world politics and modern life that I was bowled over by how she knitted it all together. This novel must be read and should win prizes.