Carcanet online book launch: Ambush at Still Lake by Caroline Bird

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Portrait of Caroine in a black leather jacket and rust coloured tshirt. She has white skin and short brown hair sweeping acrcoss her face down to the right
Caroline Bird. Photo courtesy Carcanet Press

26 June 2024 Tickets from £2.00 — Book now

Caroline Bird’s latest poetry collection is finally here and Ambush at Still Lake is being launched online by Manchester’s Carcanet Press, with readings from the book and chat with poet, playwright, novelist, librettist and critic Glyn Maxwell.

Ambush at Still Lake is Caroline Bird’s seventh collection with Carcanet; her sixth, The Air Year, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020 and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize and the Costa Prize – this was followed by her Selected Poems, Rookie, which was published in 2022.

She published her first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, in 2002 when she was 15, and she has picked up plenty of accolades along the way. A two-time winner of the Foyles Young Poets Award, she won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001, and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, and in 2023, she won a Cholmondeley Award.

Her new poems, the publisher says, “show us the ambush of real life that occurs in the stillness after the happy ending. This is a collection about marriage, lesbian parenthood, addiction and recovery in which a recurring dream is playing out: a world where mums impale themselves on pogo-sticks, serial killers rattle around in basements, baby monitors are haunted by someone else’s baby and, through it all, love stays and stays like a stationary rollercoaster that turns out to be the scariest, most thrilling ride in the amusement park”.

Her editor describes Ambush at Still Lake thus: ‘It is bleak, repellent and hilarious in an American Psycho-ish way. Hectic and vivid.’

Glyn Maxwell’s volumes of poetry include The Breakage, Hide Now and Pluto, all of which were shortlisted for either the Forward or TS Eliot Prizes, and The Nerve, which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. His Selected Poems, One Thousand Nights and Counting, was published on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. He has a long association with Derek Walcott, who taught him in Boston in the late 1980s, and whose Selected Poems he edited in 2014. On Poetry, a guidebook for the general reader, was published by Oberon in 2012. The Spectator called it ‘a modern classic’ and The Guardian’s Adam Newey described it as ‘the best book about poetry I’ve ever read.’

As always with Carcanet Press events, extracts of the text will be shown during the reading so that you can read along, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions. Registration for this online event is £2, redeemable against the cost of the book – attendees will receive a discount code and details of how to get hold of the new book during and after the event.

26 June 2024 Tickets from £2.00 Book now

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