"A Knowable World" follows Sarah Wardle's detainment in a Central London psychiatric hospital for over a year for manic episodes of bipolar disorder. The poems chart the stresses of thirty-something city life through police arrests and hospitalisation under section orders to achieve a way out; then the threat and frustration involved in the fight for liberty and the patience needed to achieve recovery. Through commanding and apt expression, Sarah Wardle conveys bleak experience. These cathartic poems are themselves testimony to her ability to overcome the sense of futility, helplessness and panic involved in bipolar disorder. Form and technique have provided a framework for her to re-establish a sense of order and concentration out of chaos. "A Knowable World" bravely enlightens our understanding of mental illness.
Sarah Wardle was born in London in 1969. She was educated at Cheltenham Ladies' College; Oxford, where she read Classics; and Sussex, where she read English. She won Poetry Review's new poet of the year award in 1999 and her first collection, Fields Away (Bloodaxe Books, 2003), was shortlisted for the Forward best first collection prize. Her second book, SCORE!(Bloodaxe Books, 2005), included some of the poems she broadcast while poet-in-residence for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, as well as the script of a film-poem, 'X: A Poetry Political Broadcast'. A Knowable World (Bloodaxe Books, 2009) is her third collection. She is lecturer in poetry at Middlesex University, Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Royal Holloway and a FRSA.
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