Land and Sea and Turning is forthcoming from Cringe-worthy Poets (CWP) Collective Press in August 2018.
These are poems about free will, destiny, or being knocked around randomly by a cold, uncaring universe. Maybe all three. It depends on who's reading them, really.
Cover art is by Mary Lou Springstead, from her Death Out and About series of paintings.
(For information on my previous pamphlets / chapbooks visit the Books page - they're all still available!)
[two poems from Land and Sea and Turning]
for Eleanor Cobham
Three walks of shame before her exile:
candle-led, overseen by men tolerant
of mystics—as long as they delivered
their lines word-perfect to the king.
In towers, in corridors, in the 21st century
—my fingerprints skim layers of loss, time
blanketing the stones, marking her final days
—settled on the moss-kissed ruin, I didn’t
want to leave her. Witch-bottled in the Anglesey
air, heavy with the sea, she was a phantom
without a name beneath a castle window.
In the spirit of exploration
For you, comfort is as distant
as Neptune, but the wish for it familiar,
like the moon you watch night
after night from your window, a constant
shift from one shape to the next--
never enough glow to see in front
or behind, but nevermind: the surface
of your skin is easier to inspect
than anything around or beneath it,
and the warm, solid map of another
only interests you for day trips, jaunts
into the unknown, last-minute getaways.
[words from others re Land and Sea and Turning]
"A good indication of the tone of this collection is in the opening poem: 'The Girl in Blue' – the mystery of her death and for sixty years, her unidentified remains. From here, Garrett effortlessly leads us into the worlds of Norse and Greek mythology – inhabited by a monstrous wolf, a vampire; or folkloric tales of runes, herbalism, and even cannibalism. There is no excuse for death, no pussyfooting around; the poem 'Nessus' opens with Deathbeds are hotbeds of apologies and promises, hollow as arrow shafts. There is some humour – of the dark kind associated with morbid and fiendish folk tales. But not all the poems are historical – in 'Mercurial', it is the fear of losing a child in the sea, and the subsequent irony that, when found, '..he knew where he was all along', and there's the enchantment of the spirit-nature of the child in 'Witchling'. The strength of this collection is in the poet's skill of elision, her surety in bringing all these worlds together where ideas are both abstract and concrete merging to form an imaginative whole, a vision of a fantastic world, and all very much alive"
- Alison Lock
"Poems winding around a schoolgirl, sheets of words wrapping a lonely girl in blue, survival despite the temptation of suicide, these tales of a goddess fallen to earth conflate mortality with sensuality. See, listen, this is what we have on this dusty, wintry, itchy planet. The stories and the words themselves to play with while we wait for the inevitable end, whenever and however it comes for us. Love notes and spells, giving magic to the mundane brutality of everyday, mythologising the dullness of broken reality with the signifiers of ancient religion. I call upon you, Fenrir, I cast the runes of Odin, oh dear winter I need your wings for this journey of blood and bones over the sea of the 21st century. Kate Garrett has written tunes of legend which do not disguise the vicious nightmare of life but make it shimmer. Stay up late with this thought and light the candles."
- Jude Cowan Montague