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The Angel of Salonika is a haunting, multi-layered book about place, language and remembrance, and the way they make us who we are. Winner of the Crashaw Prize, it is a first collection of poetry by a bestselling memoir writer, broadcaster and British university professor who grew up in communist Yugoslavia but then moved to London.
The collection begins and ends with the same summer in Macedonia thirty years ago, and tells the story of a vanished Balkan homeland but it also describes learning to live, love – and write poetry — in a new language. Goldsworthy’s poems are both melancholy meditations on a lost world, deeply permeated with a Chekhovian feeling of transience, and witty and often acerbic celebrations of London here and now — of its rivers of humanity, the secrets lurking behind its terraces, in its churches, mosques and temples, its street markets and railway stations, and almost empty restaurants during late afternoons. This is a well-travelled book, packed with memory and incantation, conjuring landscapes and people. It is beautifully written and, like all great poetry, it forms an ideal, entertaining companion.
‘The Angel of Salonika moves on the shadowy borders where the wounds of separation turn into the scars of loss. European in sensibility, elegiac in tone, these poems mark the arrival of a welcome new voice in English poetry.’ —JM Coetzee
‘Vesna Goldsworthy bursts into the poetry world fully formed. Her poems are ravishing meditations, written with deftness and assurance. The poems are cultured in the best way and stem from a deep engagement with history, held in balance with love and loss. Wonderful.’ —Gwyneth Lewis
‘These poems are lovely. Freighted with history and personal experience, they move with great clarity and control and are gorgeously precise... Reminiscent of Cavafy.’ —George Szirtes