"Beautiful, generous, wonderfully intense poems . . . Anyone who has ever felt comforted in grief by words, or who has lived through that tension between tenderness, longing and guilt, will recognize their precision and their truth."—Ruth Padel
"She is an extremely fine poet. She has a sinewy, tenacious way of penetrating and exploring the core of her subject that seems to me unique. Her simple, clean language follows the track of the nerves . . . There is nothing hit-or-miss, nothing for effect, nothing false. Reading her poems, one feels cleansed and sharpened."—Ted Hughes
"Elaine Feinstein is our great poet-storyteller, as emotionally intelligent as she is observant."—Fiona Sampson
Elaine Feinstein’s poems are the harvest of a lifetime in literature. This selection, made by the author herself, gathers work from over half a century of published writing, and is completed by a section of new poems. The selection ranges from early poems of feminist rebellion and tender observation of children to elegies for the poet’s father and close friends, reflections on middle-age, the conflicts in a long marriage, and meditations on the lot of refugees. In new poems Feinstein records her treatment for cancer, her feelings of dread in the clinic and unexpected moments of ‘extravagant happiness’. The exploration of memory is at once a source of ironic amusement and an acknowledgement of human transience.
About the Author
Elaine Feinstein's work has been translated into most European languages. In 1981 Feinstein was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and later served on its Council. In 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, and was given an Honorary D. Litt from the University of Leicester. Her novel Mother's Girl was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize in the same year. Her first novel, The Circle (1970) was longlisted for the 'lost' Man Booker prize in 2010. Her five biographies include Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet (2001; 2016), shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Prize; and Anna of all the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova (2005), which has been translated into twelve languages, including Russian. She has served as a judge for all the major literary awards, and was Chair of the Judges for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1995. She received an Arts Council Award for her work on The Russian Jerusalem (2004).
Distributed for The Sheep Meadow Press
6.5 x 9, 192 pages