‘A strange and stunning collection from a true writer. Vulnerable, hilarious and wise, Seasonal Disturbances is a darkly humorous exploration of the human condition.’
Young Poet Laureate for London, Warsan Shire
Following her groundbreaking 2014 debut An Aviary of Small Birds (‘technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak’ – Observer), Karen McCarthy Woolf returns with Seasonal Disturbances.
Set against a backdrop of ecological and emotional turbulence, these poems are charged yet meditative explorations of nature, the city, and the self. A sinister CEO presides over a dystopian hinterland where private detectives investigate crimes against hollyhocks; Halcyon is discovered as a dead kingfisher, washed up on an Italian beach. Lyrical and inventive, McCarthy Woolf’s poems test classic and contemporary forms, from a disrupted zuihitsu that considers her relationship with water, to the landay, golden shovel, and gram of &.
As a fifth-generation Londoner and daughter of a Jamaican émigré, McCarthy Woolf makes a variety of linguistic subversions that critique the rhetoric of the British class system. Political as they may be, these poems are not reportage: they aim to inspire what the author describes as an ‘activism of the heart, where we connect to and express forces of renewal and love’.
Praise for Seasonal Disturbances:
‘Seasonal Disturbances is technically brilliant, politically urgent and emotionally astute: a natural fit for this turbulent era. The remarkable tensions developed in the poems make them move and shift under our gaze, drawing the reader into McCarthy Woolf’s particular ecology of experience: migration, feminism, the natural world under pressure. This is a cosmology for our times.’ – Jo Shapcott
‘I remember being stunned into an awed silence by An Aviary of Small Birds. In Seasonal Disturbances McCarthy Woolf has established herself as an essential poet of our time. This beautiful book brims with poignancy, vigour and formal ingenuity. At its heart, this is an ode to the complex human spirit and a sweet song of resistance to the easy, specious answers so often on offer in the gyre of our spiralling world.’ – Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Seasonal Disturbances is available to order here.