Winner of the 2022 Live Canon Collection Competition
‘Jane Wilkinson’s poems are sharp-edged. They catch the light like blades in rapid motion. There are poems of loss, of apprehensions of loss, and of the fragility of life. We move across observed and imagined topographies fraught with danger as they survive in a war time of the soul. Eve said shows us a substantial imagination in love with precision and adventure in language. There will be more where these come from and it will be exciting.’
‘We each of us possess/ our own closed strangeness’ as Wilkinson’s restlessly inventive Eve Said testifies. Yet, drawing on a tradition reaching back to Sei Shōnagon’s The Pillow Book, Eve Said contains multitudes. Calling on her historical foremothers – including Eve, Grace Darling, women in Hopper’s paintings, and bygone diptychs – alongside her contemporary peers, Wilkinson explores multiple facets of womanhood. Corralling experiences of infertility, anxiety, the sea, loss, nature, childbirth, mortality, connectedness, daughterhood, toxic masculinity, and love, each poem launches from ever-surprising, original imagery to land sure-footedly yet enigmatically. Throughout, each joyful or difficult encounter provides evidence at its core of life’s ‘indestructible grace’.
"Jane Wilkinson's first collection is a gorgeous thing - poems of intricate workmanship with language that glitters and seduces like the Elizabeth she imagines in 'eruptions of pearls'. The incredible imagery puts me in mind of Ariel's song from The Tempest - where everything the poems touch - from maternal desire to sexual politics, from toxic masculinity to watering the garden 'doth suffer a sea change into something rich and strange'. This combination of style and substance creates an intense - one could say immersive - reading experience. I came away from the book with a sense of having visited another world."
Jane Wilkinson is an Irish-British poet currently living in Norwich with her partner and son and has been writing poetry since 2014. She has lived in Manchester and for many years, in London, where she studied Fine Art, and trained and practised as a Landscape Architect.