From cramped cubicles to rented bedrooms, hallways that become highways in the sleepless hours, to the space and beauty of a shrine; Woodford’s award-winning poems revisit old rooms and find new ones following the birth of a child and the passing of time in the family home and beyond.
There are ship rats, bedsocks, KitKats and, in the poem ‘Work’, which was a Ledbury prize winner, the Post-it notes and endless afternoons of office life. Changing Room includes poems from Woodford’s Leverhulme residency at Durham Law School, as well a sequence on ageing and getting out, which appeared on buses in the North of England and as part of a touring exhibition in libraries.
‘“Work” is a poem whose wide-open diction sounds artless yet is anything but. It has tremendous clarity, and works with great sophistication to portray not just a particular past but its resonance. The leap to bereavement that occurs near the end of the poem is completely earned, and all the more moving for its understatement.’ —Fiona Sampson, Ledbury Poetry Competition 2017
‘In this issue of Stand, Anna Woodford’s brilliant Poem for the “Archive” considers the relationship between what we write and how it lasts:
Sometimes when I write poetry I wonder
If what I’m doing is really writing
my own name over and over
like a kid with a sparkler
For me, her words offer a neat take on Harold Bloom’s famous dictum that “every poem is a misinterpretation of a parent poem”.’ —Helen Mort, Stand magazine
‘In the witty and self-mocking “Beginners’ Meditation”, the speaker finds “the Compassion Centre is locked” and yet, by inhabiting that frustration fully, arrives at a moment of unexpected transcendence, glimpsing the coexistence of past and present.’ —Michael Laskey, McLellan Poetry Prize 2014
‘Anna Woodford’s meditative new poems are full of an exquisite sense of time and change, reckoning and reconsideration. In deceptively plain language, full of beautifully straightforward music, these poems pare back layers of history to explore family, the flesh and deep feeling with great acuity and wisdom.’ —Jacob Polley, Northern Writers’ Awards, New Writing North 2011