by Jo Slade
In her latest collection of poems Jo Slade continues her investigation of displacement and difference and illustrates how these experiences can be transformed through poetry, a transformation that is not so much redemptive, as prophetic. These are inquisitive, sonorous, intense poems that draw us into a world where actuality and dream collide, where loneliness, grief and resilience are innate. Informed by history and personal memory, Jo Slade propels us forward, from the title poem, Cycles and Lost Monkeys, with its dark specter of surveillance, to the final section where we are confronted by the consequences of indifference to authoritarianism.
As the judges of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize 2014 commented in their citation regarding Jo Slade’s winning collection The Painter’s House (Salmon Poetry, 2013), “spareness, together with a painter’s ability to step back from the canvas, to detach, to allow light to fall on the object, is one of the great strengths of her work.There is grief here, and there is fortitude. The world in these poems is often edged with mystery, the unknowable, but the poems enact, over and over again, a sureness that we belong in this world.”
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Date of Publication: 28/03/2019