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Of Mutability Paperback – January 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jo Shapcott was born in London. Poems from her three award-winning collections, Electroplating the Baby (1988), Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep (1998) are gathered in a selected poems, Her Book (2000). She has won a number of literary prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Collection, the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the National Poetry Competition (twice). Tender Taxes, her versions of Rilke, was published in 2001.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571254713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571254712
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,740,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Watson on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
At the heart of one of the most exciting and moving volumes of poetry of recent years is the memory of a visit to the Owl Centre that has stirred the imagination of West Cumbrian children of all ages. In 'Night Flight from Muncaster', Jo Shapcott is like a witch, transforming her readers into a barn owl: "Feel a pair of flat cheeks grow, satellite dishes to funnel sound, not to transmit, sweet
hungry noises, to ears set
uneven for range."
She makes you experience the feathers growing on your cheeks, the extraordinary power of funnelling the sound of dust particles, the vision that carves its path through the night, and the sensation of flight in perfect silence, soaring in the updraft from a ravine. It would be wonderful if visitors could take away with them a copy of this poem to bring to life the experience of the nature of an owl more vividly than photographs and toys can possibly do.
It is one of many poems in her volume, 'Of Mutability', which proves that acute natural and scientific observation can fire imagination more powerfully than any flights of fancy. In other poems the inspiration may be a botanist's insight into the growth of trees, an anatomist's awareness of the flow of blood or a neuroscientist's understanding of our ability to filter out irrelevant stimuli.
There is no contradiction between such technical precision and other sources of inspiration, such as Ovid's tales of magical transformations from human to beast in 'Metamorphoses', Pushkin's short stories, Schoernberg's music or Helen Chadwick's art. Her imagination is the power to see the likeness between apparently unlike objects or experiences. Her experience of entering hospital to undergo surgery for cancer is inseparably yoked to the invasion of Iraq on the same day.
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