A PAPER ARK
Poems by Anna Adams
A Paper Ark, Anna Adams’s fourth volume of poetry from Peterloo, includes poems about various birds, beasts, insects, flowers and trees including: ants, bats, butterflies, cicadas, curlews, foxes geese, goats, hares, lemurs, magpies, rams, rowans, snails, spiders, swifts, sunflowers wasps and worms.
From reviews of earlier volumes:
‘There is a wise irony in Anna Adams’s use of traditional sounding verse forms, for she parodies the naïveté of Victorian nature poetry while borrowing it’s strengths: short, rhyming, to-the-point lines; an Emily Dickinson-like sharpness of eye; an emphatic but unsentimental love of nature.’ Anne Stevenson, Arts North.
‘Adams puts … pregnant ewes, snow drifts, rowan trees in bloom and ancient names for wildflowers … into the most unexpected poetic shapes: terza rima, Sapphics, villanelles, Horatian stanzas, etc. Instead of seeming ill-matched, her material and her forms nourish each other, and the reader encounters a perhaps over-familiar North Country world in a fresh livery.’ Peter Porter, The Observer.
‘The qualities that distinguish the best of her prose - precision of observation, an ear for the cadences of natural speech, a delicate wit and compassion allied to a robust comic sense - are, as might be expected or hoped for, distilled and compressed in the poems. There is nothing sentimental or cosmeticised in Anna Adams’s vision of the natural world.’ Vernon Scannell, Yorkshire Journal.
What are cicadas? Are they a machine
set going by the sun? They sound like one.
With rasps and rifflers, the cicada workers
in cypress factories, demolish silence.
At every edge of it’s invisible
and seamless tissue, their industrious virtue
is sawing, filing, fraying, drilling holes
til silence is in rags. Where do they live?
They live in the glass houses of their wings
like tiny gargoyles in transparent kennels.
They talk to one another, and they laugh
and laugh, since by sheer force of decibels
their horde subdued the nightingale, and quelled
the butterflies who speak by telephone
in silent languages of pheromones.
What do they live on? Trees: on olive trees
and fruit trees; or on cypresses. I meant
What do they eat? What do you think they eat?
They eat the silence, but for all
their noisy mastication, when night falls
the starry bowl of silence is brim-full.
A PAPER ARK
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover design: by Anna Adams
Publication: AUTUMN 1996 (64 pages laminated paperback).