Faber Members get 10% off their first order

Essex Clay

Andrew Motion

Loss, memory, retrieval: the verse memoir of our former Poet Laureate, revisiting the subjects that have defined his writing life.

Buy from
Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

Andrew Motion’s prose memoir, In the Blood (2006), was widely acclaimed, praised as ‘an act of magical retrieval’ (Daily Telegraph) and ‘a hymn to familial love’ (Independent). Now, having left UK shores and the bounds of his laureateship, Motion looks back once more to recreate a stunning biographical sequel – but this time, in verse.

Essex Clay rekindles, expands and gives a tragic resonance to subjects that have haunted Andrew Motion throughout his writing life. In the first part he tells the story of his mother’s riding accident, long unconsciousness and slow death; in the second he remembers the end of his father’s much longer life; in the third he describes an encounter that deepens the poem’s tangled themes of loss and memory and retrieval. Although the prevailing mood of the poem has a Tennysonian sweep and melancholy, its wealth of vivid physical details and its narrative momentum make it as compelling as a fast-paced novel: a settling of accounts which admits that final resolutions are impossible.


Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009; he is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and co-founder of the online Poetry Archive. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, and has published four celebrated biographies. His group study The Lamberts won the Somerset Maugham Award and his authorised life of Philip Larkin…

Read More
More books by Andrew Motion