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Lapwing by Hannah Copley
Poetry Book Society Recommendation Summer 2024

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Migrating across voices and blurring the divide between bird and human, self and other, Hannah Copley’s Lapwing explores restlessness, love, and ecological and personal grief in a vivid and incantatory sequence of poems. A lyrical biography of a bird and a fragmented study of a flawed and mutable creature bearing its name, Copley’s second collection takes inspiration from John Gower’s brid falseste of alle and its many literary guises. At the heart of the book are the shifting figures of Lapwing and Peet, two creatures whose overlapping narratives echo the double note of the bird’s cry.

In Lapwing, known by countless names, migratory, and slowly disappearing beneath addiction, Copley examines a life in a slow tumble, as we are transported into a world shaped by real and imagined predators. Running alongside Lapwing is the searching voice of Peet, a daughter left to understand her father’s vanishing while trying to make a life in a habitat no longer fit for survival. Bold, exacting, and deeply personal, Copley’s poems call out from empty nests, drained wetlands, and ploughed fields to create a soundscape of endangerment and wonder.

Lapwing asks that we consider how, like the bird itself, we must all dissemble to survive.

Pavilion Poetry

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