The Shipwrecked House: A Graph Review

A Graph Review:  55 with high points 75

published by: Penned in the Margins

Shortlisted for Guardian First Book Award  2013

author: Claire Trevien                 paper at £8.99 (Buy now from Amazon)

  978 190805110

I was caught up by the first poem, ‘Origin Story‘ and well-held for shipwrecked house coveralmost all that followed.

Claire is a young poet, this her first published collection though in her acknowledgements she has been published in numerous journals and 6 of this selection previously appeared in a pamphlet.  She is currently an editor of Sabotage Reviews and involved in other collaborations in poetry writing and author groups.  Recently she was part of an ‘author’s day’ at Beaconsfield Library.  She is an Anglo-Breton, her late grandmother in Brittany was an artist and Claire’s writing seems deeply influenced by this familial and scenic heritage.

The sea and its borderline landscape, the myth and music of a Celtic heritage and the artistic colour and imagery pour through the changes in style along the progression of the poems.  From origins, childhood,  with teasing and testing of other influences and styles; thorns and tucked-in humour to the final four poems that maybe forecast a sea-change in self with the last taken lines:

Wipe the blade clean on the grass,

the songs, the sounds, must be plucked off.

There is so much offered in this collection, flowing from birth to maturity.  For those that like depths to explore, for all that like variety and conscious exploration, with murmur and colour galore this is a desreving read.  And a welcome re-read.  I do hope that Claire can continue her poetry output.

I find it hard to limit to my favourite four poems, its almost a random choice:

          Origin Story,           Journeys of Evaporation,           Novella,          Melusine             and finally:     Good god that’s a lot of shake.

My one disappointment is that there are several blank pages at the back of the book, I would have loved just a few more poems.

Lastly, it is no wonder she was chosen by readers to be on the shortlist for the Guardian First Book Award for 2013.   Sadly she was not the winner.


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