People we love die. And at the heart of the grief there's a sense of wonder: we can't believe it, where have they gone, what are they now, what does that make us? We end up wondering at life too. Death takes us to the edge of living; grief leads us to question the very limits and designs of life itself. Greta Stoddart's third collection Alive Alive O follows the human impulse to make sense of our mortality. Death is reconfigured not so much to console us but as a way of playing out different scenarios, trying for variants in metaphor and meaning, that we may better accept it. But for all their focus and attention on death these are not poems of despair. In their intensity and spirit our mortal life becomes a thing to behold, even in - or because of - the face of death.
Greta Stoddart was born in 1966 in Oxfordshire. She grew up in Belgium and Oxford before going on to study Drama at Manchester University, then at the Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. There she co-founded the theatre company Brouhaha and for five years toured UK, Europe and South America. She has lived in East Devon since 2007. Her first collection, At Home in the Dark (Anvil, 2001), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2001 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second, Salvation Jane (Anvil, 2008), was shortlisted for the 2008 Costa Poetry Award. In 2007 she was nominated by Mslexia as one of the best ten contemporary women poets in the UK. Her third collection is Alive Alive O (Bloodaxe Books, 2015).
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