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No gardener could ever grow an apple tree that blooms all year round, gifting both the flower arranger and the bee with twenty-four seven blossom. It’s an impossible dream, something we desire but can’t possess.
Only the poet can cultivate such a species. This poet seeds her collection with flowers, birds and insects that hover, uncaught, on the boundaries of reality. Consider this kingfisher, perched by a stream. Look again, and it might never have even existed. Another poem’s optical illusion shows you a rabbit – but tilt it sideways and it’s a human infant.
This is a book balancing concise and truthful lyric poems with longer, showier witty monologues. Dotted like stepping-stones throughout are a series of personal poems, all written to the length of the poet’s single breath. To read them aloud and embody their rhythms is to make them a part of you. These are poems requiring reader involvement to live.
Twenty-Four Seven Blossom follows Julia Bird’s well-received debut collection Hannah and the Monk, published in 2008. Five years on, we’re all more wind-blown and weathered, and though we’re beginning to suspect our trees might never flower twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, here’s a book to distract and console you while you wait.
‘Twenty-Four Seven Blossom is a joyous, generous book. There isn't a page that doesn't gift the reader with a sumptuous image or fascinating fact. Julia Bird creates a cabaret from the 'small chaos' of life: a monkey battles a lizard; a kingfisher poses in 'the colours of jockey silks'; a waitress offers up 'clotted cream, bramble jam / on the lazy susan of my bum'. It made me want to shout bravo and send the poet a bouquet.’ —Clare Pollard
‘Her poems charm, her passion for language is palpable, her lines heaped with gorgeous words, selected for sheen and texture, which build the lustrous images that distinguish her work.’ —Sarah Crown, Poetry London
‘Bird’s is a poetry of ideas, but unexpected, often extraordinary ones.’ —John Greening, Times Literary Supplement
‘Hers is the language of supermarket tragedies, of the intense emotions behind the tiny instants of daily life.’ —Annie McDermott, The New Statesman