Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Alice Oswald
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Alice Oswald poet

Alice Oswald lives in Devon.


A sleepwalk on the Severn (Faber and Faber, 2009)

Weeds and Wildflowers (Faber and Faber, 2009)

Woods, etc (Faber and Faber, 2005)

Dart (Faber and Faber, 2002)

The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (Oxford University Press, 1996)


The Thunder Mutters: 101 Poems for the Planet (Faber and Faber, 2005)

Alice Oswald read Classics at New College, Oxford. She received an Eric Gregory Award. In 2004 she was one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets. Her first collection The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection in 1996 and was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize in 1997. Dart combined poetry and prose to tell the story of the River Dart in Devon and won the 2002 T S Eliot Prize. Woods, etc was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection in
2005. Weeds and Wildflower won the inaugural Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2009 and was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Her poem Dunt won the 2007 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.

Alice Oswald co-edited with Peter Oswald and Robert Woof Earth Has Not Any Thing to Shew More Fair: A Bicentennial Celebration of Wordsworth’s Sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge (Shakespeare’s Globe and Wordsworth Trust, 2002). She has worked as a gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

“For all her astringency, Alice Oswald is in the English Romantic tradition. Her long poem, Dart, which appeared in 2002, described the course of that Devon river from source to sea. In doing so, it flowed like Wordsworth’s Duddon or Burns’s Doon, and was not afraid of sublimity on the way. Where she is different, though – and this may be related to the fact that women tend to be more modest than men – is that her nature poetry is not a way of talking about herself. When Wordsworth compares his Lucy, who lived alone and obscure, to ‘a violet by a mossy stone,/Half-hidden to the eye’, you know he will be back to his own grief in a couple of lines. With Oswald, the self cannot be ascertained; the attention to the thing or person described never wavers. So her best poems in this volume are the ones which best exhibit this observant, unboastful Romanticism. ‘It’s early morning/and a woman/from a previous/world is wading/up the stream’ is the arresting beginning of Yellow Iris. In Daisy, the flower becomes a ‘quiet child’, too small for the author ‘to look in her open eye’. Suddenly, Oswald expresses the cruelty of human power: ‘because she is more/summer-like more meek/than I am I will push my nail/into her neck and make/a lovely necklace out of her green bones’. The poem Snowdrop imagines ‘a pale and pining girl,  head bowed, heart gnawed’ very weak, broken-hearted, almost dead, ‘But what a beauty, what a mighty power/of patience kept intact is now in flower.’ The snowdrop has ‘a wild-flower sense of wounded  gentleness’. That phrase is almost a description of Alice Oswald’s poetic gift.” Charles Moore (The Telegraph)

Alice Oswald at Faber and Faber http://www.faber.co.uk/author/alice-oswald/


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