A Poetry Book Society Spring 2018 Recommendation
Shortlisted for The 2018 Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection
Wandering in central Europe, a traveller observes and records a landscape of lakes, folk culture and uneasy histories. Phoebe Power's Shrines of Upper Austria gathers numerous stories and perspectives, such as the fragmented narrative of an Austrian woman who married a British soldier after the Second World War, and the voices of schoolchildren and immigrants. Strange discoveries are made: a grave for two dead goats; a lantern procession on the night of Epiphany; a baby abandoned by a river; a homemade frog-puppet.
The poems are a collage of stories and histories, set in a variety of forms and registers. They are attentive to local detail, rich in the names of people and places - Marija, Omegepta, Eck 4 and the Loser Mountain. Mixing poetry and prose, image and narrative, German and English, Power's poems are a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. Against a disquieting backdrop of mild winters and memories of snow, they invite us to question what it means to feel at once a stranger and at home.
Phoebe Power received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2012 and a Northern Writers' Award in 2014. Her poems have been published in journals and anthologies including The Rialto, Oxford Poetry and The White Review. She has recently collaborated with other artists on projects including a live performance of her pamphlet Harp Duet (Eyewear, 2016), and Christl, a video installation involving poetry, visual art and sound. She currently lives in York.