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Leaving Eden,

Liane Strauss

Leaving Eden, Liane Strauss


Publication Date: 01-Nov-10 | ISBN: 9781844714469 | Trim Size: 198 x 129 mm | Extent: 96pp | Format: Paperback

UK & International Distribution: Macmillan Distribution | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop




The mind in love is an Eden, and a labyrinth; a return to innocence, and a serpent that seduces itself. Like a walled garden in the modern city, the mind under love’s power is a paradise that flourishes and delights in the shadow of a fallen world.

This book of twenty-first century love poems follows the intricate, often-bewildering ways of the mind in love and pursues its themes, like Ariadne’s thread, through a maze of voices.The beings who populate Leaving Eden are a surprising and familiar combination of sophisticated and artless. They are worldly but not cynical, guileless without being callow, at once rueful and unblinking, fearless and trusting.

The beings who populate Leaving Eden are a surprising and familiar combination of sophisticated and artless. They are worldly but not cynical, guileless without being callow, at once rueful and unblinking, fearless and trusting. Displaying a wit that is not above flirting with heat, and a self-awareness liable to slip into self-abandon, these characters seem to awaken into their dramas like dreamers, as if to demonstrate that we don’t lose our innocence once and for all, but over and over again, and as if to prove that not only is every state of innocence followed by a fall, it also emerged from one.

Like us, the characters in these poems know better and nevertheless let themselves be beguiled again and again. Like us, they are skeptical, and like us, they fall — apart, flat, from grace, sometimes with grace, in and out of love, into and through the words and worlds love conjures — again and again, as the mind, over and over, seeks to find its way out of, and back into, that best image of itself: love’s Eden.


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Seduction; Round Trip; Rumour; The Future Scene; Cut and a Blow Dry; Boy; The Speed of the World; Pointless; Variations on a Theme by Lady Suw?; Cliché; The Yellow Dress; Hymn; The Little Death; Alone in the Night; Three Ostriches; A Baroque Birdcage Seller; in the Seventh District of Vienna; The Piano Tuner; Ceci n’est pas; Winter; The morning is the hardest. It is morning; Cross Country; The Museum of Desires; The Seamless Future; The Accordion Player; Land’s End; Leaving Eden; Torture Garden; Nature Morte; The Clear Thread; Poppies; Glass Bottom Car; A Sprig in a Cold Snap; True Love; The Affair; The Dog and Duck; Proof; The Same Dream; Here’s Looking at You; Your Clouds; The Catastrophe of the Old Comedy; It’s Never Too Early for a Clean Slate; Frankie, Alfredo,; Self-Portrait as Myself; Transcriptions of Éluard; Poetry Lover; Now Blue, Now Green; Jigsaw World; Ditchdigger; Hooks and Buttons; Archimedes and Me; Le Mot Juste; Dedication


“Liane Strauss can drive a standard romantic line straight at the wall of cliche and spin the wheel at the last moment ("The nothings you whispered were not sweet") so that the whole idea turns into a memorable night out, with a picnic on the canal bank at dawn as the car finishes sinking out of sight. But she has no chance of turning off the glamour that her hurtling forms generate…. Her work is helping to provide the dazzling evidence that there is a new school of poets in London for whom the Atlantic has simply disappeared. ” —Clive James


“The most characteristic mark of a Strauss poem is its rhetorical authority. Strauss writes as if she's confidently mapping the secret grammar and physics of the universe. She has a fine ear for cadence, rhythm and rhyme — half, quarter, eighth…. nano? — and she can certainly pull off the tight, concise, exquisitely crafted thing, though she usually prefers to give her poems a freer rein and let them build up their characteristic dizzying momentum, as in the present selection.

Liane Strauss writes fresh, compelling, edgy, intelligent poetry and I'm delighted to play a part in introducing it to a wider audience.
” —Michael Donaghy The Limelight, 2003



Liane StraussLiane Strauss is an American poet and the author of Frankie, Alfredo, (Donut Press, 2009). Her poems are also included in the pamphlets Ask for It by Name (2008) and The Like Of It (2005), on the CD Life Lines: Poets for Oxfam, and in many magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. She is among the guest poets on and teaches literature and creative writing at The City Lit, The Poetry School and Birkbeck College. She lives in North London with her two sons.

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