In her first Carcanet collection, Lesley Harrison looks North to the sea, with the heat of the land at her back. In her striking inventive arrangements of sound and page, Harrison bring us meditations on whale hunts and lost children, on cities seen and remembered, and the sound of the gamelan in the Gulf of Bothnia. A poetry which negotiates, line by line and page by page, with white space and silence, Kitchen Music plunges deep through the strata of language where "weather is body" and an Iceland poppy is "as delicate as birch." Drawing on folktales, she threads together images of family and gender, transcribes John Cage and Johannes Kepler into song and litany, pens a hymnal of bees, and turns to storms, glaciers, and the lapwing life in a field of young barley.
As the novelist Kirsty Gunn writes in the foreword, Harrison has "taken up the old white whale of the fixed and masculine narratives and made of its seas and weathers her own Moby Dick, a female poetry 'in praises / repeated, repeating.'"