Praise of Caldwel’s poetry
Anne Caldwell is a poet of tremendous variety but she writes with equal sensuality and careful craft about personal experience or the worlds of politics, art and literature. Her characters speak with glittering conviction whether they are one of the four and twenty blackbirds, Robinson Crusoe or a woman living under water. These are poems unafraid to look into the dark corners of real life and find beauty in what is hidden there. They are resolute in the face of painful loss and clear-sighted about life’s vagaries. Anne Caldwell’s wonderfully sensual language and the sheer, glorious physicality of her poems transform the world for the reader so that we may revel in life’s experiences and travel more hopefully than before.
Anne Caldwell locates these candid poems of passion and loss in worlds of deep water and wide horizons, at once vertiginous and energising. Whether she is conjuring childhood memories, inhabiting the voices of Crusoe and the Angel of the North, or turning her unflinching gaze to sex and death, her poems achieve a unifying sensuality and emotional force that is always rooted in the ordinary moments of a woman’s life. Many of her poems explore the tensions between the domestic and the wild, the down to earth and the dark recesses of the imagination. Talking to The Dead leaves me with the sense of touch – skin to skin – and the image of a woman not drowning but transmuting, “into something rich and strange.”
Anne Caldwell is the Development Manager for two literature charities, NALD and NAWE, working with literature professionals and writers to help provide training and professional development. Her debut pamphlet, Slug Language, was published by Happenstance. She lives near Hebden Bridge.