Poems by M.R. Peacocke
M.R. Peacocke lives on a hill farm in Cumbria which she is working as a smallholding. An Oxford graduate, she has had previous existences working first as a teacher and then in the children’s cancer unit of a major hospital. She has a special empathy with animals, both wild and domesticated, which feature – geese, weasel, deer, horses – in this second collection.
Selves includes poems in which both a pair of geese and George Stubbs, anatomist and painter of horses, speak in their own voices. There are also poems about two other painters - Monet and Matisse - and an intriguing “History of the Thé Dansant”, one section of which ("Tango") won the 1st (£2,000) prize in the 1994 Peterloo Open Poetry Competition and was nominated for the best single poem in the Forward Prize of that year. M.R. Peacocke's first volume, Marginal Land (Peterloo, 1988) received exceptionally favourable review coverage.
Extracts from reviews of Marginal Land:
’Marginal Land is a fine collection. Here the poet lets her language through without self-consciousness. The poems are not about themselves, but palpably about other things and because of that are both accessible and disturbing. Almost every poem in this collection struck me as a fully realised work and I read it with admiration . . . It was good to find a writer who could disappear into the poems, whose “I” terrifyingly stands for us all and who wasn’t afraid to embody vibrant polarities of life and death to her work. Tremendous stuff.’
- Graham Mort, Poetry Review
’Like Larkin, Peacocke has that all-too-rare gift of knowing how to make a memorable poem. She finds her material everywhere: the collection is sprinkled with reported speech, notebook jottings, conversations, postcard greetings, a newspaper headline . . . Even when she's experimenting, there's a directness and simplicity to her work - plain language, strong rhythms, full rhymes.’
Stephen Knight, London Magazine
Miranda Reading her Story
She carries close her slight
weight and fragrance. Now, she says,
I will read it. And we prepare,
one warmth dovetailing itself
to the other. She balances head,
throat, hands. Once . . .
A journey is in the making.
She knows the tone and summons
of magic, pressures of breath
that warn of change; interprets
blobs, wavering ovals,
threat of a zigzag line. But
here comes snakey S. Mysterious power
coils from her crayon, saving the day.
But in the end, she says, they were all
vanished. It’s very sad.
She lays her paper by
and sits back, wondering. Silence fills
the print of something glimpsed
that promises no sure happy,
no ever, no after.
Price £6.95 per copy post free (£4.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: George Stubbs: Bay Hunter by a Lake. (The Tate Gallery London).
Publication: AUTUMN 1995 (48 pages laminated paperback)