Black Country

Black Country

by Liz Berry


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When I became a bird, Lord, nothing could not stop me…

In this collection, Liz Berry takes flight: to Wrens Nest, Gosty Hill, Tipton-on-Cut; to the places of home. The poems move from the magic of childhood—bostin fittle at Nanny’s, summers before school—into deeper, darker territory: sensual love, enchanted weddings, and the promise of new life. In Berry’s hands, the ordinary is transformed: her characters shift shapes, her eye is unusual, her ear attuned to the sounds of the Black Country, with "vowels ferrous as nails, consonants / you could lick the coal from." Ablaze with energy, and full of the rich dialect of the West Midlands, this is an incandescent debut from a poet of dazzling talent and verve.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780701188573
Publisher: Random House UK
Publication date: 11/01/2014
Pages: 80
Sales rank: 1,030,194
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Liz Berry received an Eric Gregory Award, an Arvon-Jerwood Mentorship, and she is the author of a pamphlet, The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls. Her work has appeared in Poetry London and Poetry Review, and she has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2011, her poem ‘Birmingham Roller’ was commended in the National Poetry Competition, and ‘Sow’ won second prize in the Poetry London competition. In 2012, ‘Bird’ received first prize in the Poetry London competition. She works as an infant school teacher and is the assistant poetry editor at Ambit magazine.

Table of Contents

Bird 1

Birmingham Roller 3

Homing 4

Bostin Fittle 5

Black Country 6

Nailmaking 8

The Red Shoes 9

Tipton-On-Cut 11

The Patron Saint of School Girls 13

5th Dudley Girl Guides 15

When I Was a Boy 16

Trucker's Mate 17

The First Path 18

Taps 21

The Year We Married Birds 22

The Silver Birch 24

Sow 26

Carmella 28

Owl 30

The Black Delph Bride 31

The Bone Orchard Wench 33

Gosty Hill 34

The Last Lady Ratcatcher 36

Fishwife 37

Woodkeeper 39

Dog 40

In the Steam Room 41

Stone 43

Bilston Enamels 44

Darling Blue Eyes 45

Irene 47

The Sea of Talk 48

Miss Berry 49

My Mother's Wedding Shoes 50

Goodnight Irene 51

Wulfrun Hotel 52

Echo 53

Grasshopper Warbler 55

The Way Home 57

The Assumption 58

Christmas Eve 59

The Night You Were Born 61

Notes & Acknowledgements 63

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