The Skin Diary is published by Nine Arches Press.
“Abegail Morley’s The Skin Diary is a house haunted by imagined children and a permeating tragedy. Time passes in lost months and tides; slips away grain by grain. In her wanderings, the narrator yearns for a child and laments the lover lost to an empty sky. He is in every creak of the stairs and peers between branches at the bottom of the garden. Heartbreak is carried around in supermarket carrier bags: first Waitrose, then Aldi. The Skin Diary somehow finds words for the ineffable in its search for hope and understanding.”
The Memory of Water, a pamphlet just out from Indigo Dreams.
ISBN 978-1-909357-92-1 £6.00
“With her restless and undaunted imagination, Abegail Morley has already given us three of the most original collections of poetry in recent years. Using the metaphor of water as the carrier of the whispers of history, The Memory of Water takes her ever deeper into her own distinctive world.
Inspired by a residency in Scotney Castle in Kent, famous for its Medieval moat, these poems bring vivid life to actual voices of the past – a Catholic priest hiding from Elizabeth’s agents, a smuggler disposing of his victim’s body, another murderer faking his own death by filling his coffin with stones – and counterpoints them with invented characters in a music as fluid as their watery medium.
Karen Dennison’s shape-shifting photographs are a superb accompaniment to these startling and compelling poems.”
The Skin Diary is due spring 2016 from Nine Arches Press.
Many thanks to the editors of both books.
Eva and George – Sketches in Pen and Brush (Pindrop Press, 2013) 978-0957329034, £7.99
The latest Pindrop Press offering is a poetic account of the life of the artist George Grosz told through the voice of his wife, Eva Peter. An affecting sequence, Morley impresses with a startling account of a private and public existence in a Germany transforming itself after the First World War. Stark images of despots and outcasts mirror the artist’s paintings, but Morley’s engaging account of passion and malice, and dramatic exploration of Grosz’s inspiration, adds more colour to a richly imaginative collection. Poetry Book Society
Abegail Morley’s sequence Eva and George, marked by both authenticity and originality, impresses with startling imagery and the striking juxtaposition of the private and the public. Her poetic account of George Grosz and Eva Peter’s life in the Weimar Republic is at the same time a compelling panorama of a whole era characterized by struggle, violence and radicalism. Dr Wolfgang Görtschacher, Poetry Salzburg Review/ Poetry Salzburg
Morley skilfully captures the rawness of George Grosz’s acerbic images of despots and outcasts in post WWI Germany, while tenderly evoking a portrait of the man behind the art. In lucidly-voiced poems spoken by his wife, Eva Peters, she explores the passion and compassion that drove him. In doing so she reminds us of the casual and calculated malice we are capable of inflicting on each other in daily living, and that ‘We are those passers-by. Heidi Williamson
These are fine hard-bitten poems with the imaginative strength and resonance to stand alongside the work of George Grosz without being in any way diminished by it. The realisation of Eva Peter’s voice is a triumph, and introduces Abegail Morley as one of our most impressive and rewarding poets. Peter Bennet
Sketches in Pen and Brush doesn’t lend itself to casual reading. It is a deep-welled cluster of information and ideology. An avant-garde textbook of sorts that could be generously bent to supplement readings into political sociology… Without a doubt Morley’s most ambitious work to date, and perhaps her most accomplished. Books like Eva and George – Sketches in Pen and Brush are no doubt vital to the on-going remembrance of a period of time that shook, and ultimately defined much of the Europe we inhabit today.
Eva and George depicts the satirical artist Georg Grosz and his wife Eva Peter, in the period between their meeting in Berlin in 1916 and their emigration to the US in 1933. This takes in a lot of history, much of it grim. At the same time, readers are more than likely unfamiliar with Grosz’s art, which is central to the sequence. Morley largely avoids the pitfalls, giving the reader pointers, but not so many as to obstruct the poetry: a brief introduction and minimal notes to the poems; a small selection of reproductions to give a flavour of Grosz’s work; and a more detailed timeline kept to the end.
Snow Child (Pindrop Press 2011), 978-0956782243, £8.99
Abegail Morley’s Snow Child gifts us bold, unflinching, memorable poems, dazzling in their precision and clarity. This is a poet who faces life’s wonders, complexities and losses head-on, and invites us on a lyrical journey which will, at times, take our breath away. Catherine Smith
Intensely personal poems of love, desertion, obsession, written with great skill and delicacy yet with a disturbing sparsity and uncanny detachment. Snow Child is a captivating and impressive collection. Malcolm Carson
At the heart of Abegail Morley’s powerful second collection is a deep sense of loss. The poems work at countering that loss with tangible visceral images that both disturb and sing with their own gorgeousness. Morley has captured just what it feels like to be living inside a skin so thin, the sun burns right through in all its lucid glory. Helen Ivory
How to Pour Madness into a Teacup (Cinnamon Press 2009), 9781907090004, £7.99
Shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection.
It has fallen to Abegail Morley to draw aside the veil suspended between the world we know and the unholy of unholies that lies beyond. We are shown the painted veil of everyday life, only to have it slashed with a knife before our eyes, allowing us to glimpse the horror that lies within, sometimes frightening but always lit with a strange visionary beauty. Morley’s poems are daredevil ambassadors to a savage place. Hugo Williams