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Anna Woodford

Birdhouse, Anna Woodford


Publication Date: 01-Nov-10 | ISBN: 9781844717880 | Trim Size: 198 x 129 mm | Extent: 80pp | Format: Paperback

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




WINNER OF THE CRASHAW PRIZE 2009 From diamonds hidden in a grandmother’s pantry to a peahen’s shout of ecstasy, from the voice of a deranged bridesmaid to that of a nun teaching a sex education lesson, Birdhouse is full of life – and its flip-side. It includes an award-winning sequence of elegies for the poet’s grandparents and great-grandparents who were victims of the holocaust (the sequence was a Poetry Book Society Choice).

Throughout this dazzling debut, Woodford explores sex, running away from school, and the happy ever after endings of Goldilocks and Eliza Doolittle. She takes a reader from Poland to Darlington on a dizzying scenic route involving graveyards and playgrounds. Along the way she celebrates a dead pigeon, a washing line, a big bed scene and an endless pair of legs. Her poems speak directly to a reader. Intimate and compelling. Casually artful. They stir up time and place to dissolving point, honouring the material word but not taking it for what it is. Or isn’t.

Woodford has received an Eric Gregory Award, an Arvon/Jerwood apprenticeship, a Hawthornden Fellowship, a major Leverhulme grant and is a previous winner of the International Poetry Business Competition. Widely published in magazines and anthologies, she has completed residencies in Alnwick Garden, Durham Cathedral and the Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service. Her work has been described by Anthony Rudolf as ‘tough-minded and tender-hearted’.


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Birdhouse; Epithalamium; Trying; Desk; Sex Education; Relic; The Goldilocks Variable; Assembly; Journey 14/35; Two Up Two Down; The Higgins’ Honeymoon; Looking Back; Guernica; Big Bed Scene; Singing in the Bath; Six Weeks; Party Piece; Taking in the Washing; Going Underground; Darling; Gran’s Diary; Gran’s Parting Shot; Gran’s Death; Grandfather Once Removed; Bookcase ; Violins; PLAQUE; Portrait of the Magenheims; Gran’s Pantry; Naturalization; Extract; Memento Mori; After You; Trailer; My Legs; Staying the Night; Grounded; Fresco; Dancing Lesson; Lot 927; La Donna; Burden; In Passing; Suttee Song; Feral; The Runaway Piano; Exchange; High Chair; Travelling with Isaac; Twitching with Isaac; Engaged; Finding True Love; Condensation; Scan ; Clipping; Sonograph Story; Homecoming; Arbour; Bait Shed; The Blackie Boy Roundabout; Summer Cold; The Tree


“Anna Woodford’s poems are a delight of intimacy, pleasure, loss and regret, though rather less of regret. They are essentially celebrations, clear and growing brighter with each line, whether the subject is sex, or friendship or family ties, each local, located with just a touch of the astringent (‘Every time I look back/we’re getting better with age’ says one poem.) The poems are delicately made but they are tough too, quite capable of looking after themselves. They are a form of making solid. ” —George Szirtes


“How much dark one candle/can leave’ writes Anna Woodford at the passing of her grandmother. It’s a dark that will accompany, will see her through. There’s a level-headed love here that, like life itself, is strong enough to carry the equipages of wit and brilliance in her poetry. ” —Gillian Allnutt


“Anna Woodford is not afraid to move around the page. Most poets cling to the left-hand margin as a starting point for each poem but Woodford know the value of space. It’s possible to make an impact with just a few words if you know what you are doing and these poems do just that. ” —Ambit


“Here is a poet that loves language – as a toy, a tool, a weapon.” —Jacqueline Gabbitas (review of Party Piece) Poetry Review


“Anna Woodford is a rarity: a youngish poet with considerable talent, something to say, and a voice unique as a fingerprint … Woodford’s poems can give their readers new eyes.” —Rory Waterman Sphinx



Anna WoodfordAnna Woodford has received an Eric Gregory Award, a major Leverhulme Award, a Hawthornden Fellowship and an Arvon Jerwood Apprenticeship. Her pamphlet Party Piece was a winner in the International Poetry Business Competition, selected by Michael Longley. Her pamphlet Trailer was a Poetry Book Society Choice. She is widely published in many literary magazines including the TLS, the Rialto and Horizon Review. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Birdhouse is her first full length collection.

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