Shall We Go by Annemarie Austin
Annemarie Austin's vividly imaginative poems explore other worlds and other lives, drawing upon her own memories and experiences, as well as on art, travel, dream, myth, history and literature.
The first poem in her new collection asks 'Shall we go on the shiny?', the last one ends 'being altogether gone this time'. In between there's the tightrope, 'The Walking Shot', the report on the pilgrimage in progress, the marquise going out at five o'clock. The eye moves left to right along with the poems' movement. Though there are stops from time to time, for problems of the unidentified, the location of waterholes, whether or not those birds are oystercatchers, for the interior of a pocket and Nijinsky jumping. Then on, maybe to the beach again.
Shall We Go? is Annemarie Austin's eighth book of poetry, following her Bloodaxe retrospective, Very: New & Selected Poems (2008) and later collection Track (2014).
'Lack of ostentation is part of the appeal of Austin's work. It voices mysteries with elegant composure. The mundane is met on its own terms, then all at once titled, a strangeness exposed. Sometimes the art is in the omission... Track is a book of many themes and explorations. Again, it reminds us of a poet whose technical control, musicality and gift for subtle surprise deserve wider notice.' – Carol Rumens, 'Poem of the the Week', The Guardian
'Austin's poems are full of intriguing images, with journeys and transitions as their main themes. Another concern in the capturing of fleeting details... But beneath the plain language and form, the uncanny and the terrible are never far away.' – Juanita Coulson, The Lady, on Track
'Austin is a fable maker. Hers is a poetry of parts held together by powerfully imagined dream associations. As her world deliquesces and reforms, her imagination breathes life into other people in other times, weirdly authenticating the material she draws from history' – Anne Stevenson.
'Annemarie Austin's world is one of doubles and reflections...she is deeply engaged with shifting perspectives and challenging perceptions.' – Jane Griffiths, Poetry Review
'She has the power to suggest the fantastic or the terrible... Annemarie Austin understands that the force of the uncanny lies in the echoing silence at the edge of the unknown.' – Helen Kidd, Poetry Quarterly Review
'Austin's voice has a shivery intelligence and precision.' – Deryn Rees-Jones, London Magazine