REVIEW by Paul Cooper

NWR Issue 103

The Shape of a Forest

by Jemma L King

Things have been looking great for Jemma L King. The Powys-based poet and academic won the Terry Hetherington Young Welsh Writer of the Year Award in 2011, and this, her debut collection, The Shape of a Forest, was shortlisted for the 2013 Dylan Thomas Prize. She’s been tipped as one of the brightest new voices in national poetry, and this collection cements her position as a writer to watch.

The Shape of a Forest opens with King’s best-known poem, and one of the three that secured her the Terry Hetherington Award. ‘Amelia Earhart’ sets into verse the final days of the renowned pilot and pioneer who disappeared attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. Her psychology is beautifully evoked: the madness of a woman who lived on adrenaline, suddenly finding herself in solitary confinement on an unknown Pacific island. ‘First, an inventory of quiet invaded and took root.’ The pilot stares out at the ocean, ‘the horizon as empty as the stomach’, and these painful moments are interwoven with an account of the team of modern researchers who stumble upon her remains...

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previous review: Red Eye
next review: The Colour of Dawn



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