Alice and the North by Anne Caldwell
Alice and the North is a sequence of prose poems that form a love-song to the North, its post-industrial landscapes, wild uplands, obsession with weather, seasonal change and awkwardness. Like Lewis Carroll's Alice before her, the lead character shifts and changes as her journey across the North continues; she is at turns playful, sexy, rebellious and adventurous, carving a new identity for the region as she goes.
From herring quines to the hidden corners of Manchester, from Lytham St Anne’s to the canals of Congleton, readers are invited to grow up with Alice as she finds her voice – straddling the territory between prose and poetry, exploring the down to earth cadences of everyday speech and the richness of the North’s many idioms and dialects.
Alice even finds time to gently tease the 'titans' of Northern poetry, Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage, whose voices have long shaped the poetry-reading public's idea of the North. Now, however, they must step aside and make room for Alice.
"Anne Caldwell’s poems are intensely alive, flighty as young animals, powerful and varied as the sea." — Alison Brackenbury
"Anne Caldwell’s Alice is at once rooted and flighty, wildly sensual and, in the very best sense, ordinary. As she navigates the Wonderland that is the North, she takes the reader with her through a vividly reimagined place of changing identity. Caldwell is an immensely sensitive poet with a keen sense of both the poignancy and exuberance of life and its tiny moments. In ‘Alice And The North” she has created a compelling poetic narrative, conjured a North that is both strange and familiar and given us a very particular Alice who might also be an everywoman for our times." — Amanda Dalton