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Emily Berry’s Dear Boy was described as a ‘blazing debut’, winning the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2013. Stranger, Baby, its follow-up, is marked by the same sense of fantasy and play, estrangement and edgy humour for which she has become known. But these poems delve deeper again, in their off-kilter and often painful encounter with childhood loss. This is a book of mourning, recrimination, exhilaration and ‘oceanic feeling’: ‘A meditation on a want that can never be answered.’
Highly intelligent, deeply moving poems that provide a new lens through which to consider grief.
This is powerful poetry. But it is also clever, modern, and playful. Berry refuses to withhold any of her poetic artillery; she experiments with form boldly, an experiment that might fail in the hands of a weaker writer ... ‘Stranger, baby’ generates a high voltage; its energy feels dangerous for both writer and reader, and no one who reads it will deny the sparks that fly off it.
One of the best books of British poetry you are likely to read in 2017 ... a work of extraordinary poetic ability and frankness.
Emily Berry has a refreshingly free, not to say incendiary, approach to poetry.
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