We are delighted to announce the latest full poetry collection by a Black Bough Poetry author.
Get your copy of The Poet Spells Her Name, by Devon-based writer and Pushcart Prize nominee, Sarah Connor.
In this bone-chilling, skin-prickling, haunted and beautiful collection of 66 poems, we stand at the edge of light looking through the darkness on an evening at Christmas, fly with owls through country lanes and witness a poet's recognition of transformation with age, the experience of having cancer and the ravages of treatment.
A remarkable, unmissable, soul-affecting work from a writer at the peak of her imaginative powers.
We are very excited about the cover art by the multi-talented Sarah-Jane Crowson.
"In her second collection, Sarah Connor leads us into a world where wolves are welcomed, gannets 'twist like glass' and 'fierce' hope is never far. From the achingly beautiful 'Working like a banshee' to the defiant 'O, my cartographer', Connor's poems, much like the 'Lady of Lichen' stand 'arms open' to whatever the storm throws. These poems will call you back."
Ness Owen, author of Moon Jellyfish Can Barely Swim (Parthian)
"Sarah Connor's new collection, The Poet Spells Her Name, is quite simply beautiful and deeply moving. It is written with such startling imagery and depth of emotion that so many of the poems took my breath away. Her poetry here has its own magic beneath ash trees, under the watchful eye of the moon, whispered in the darkness. I felt them tightly in my chest like a memory. I will read these poems again and again."
Rachel Deering, author of Crown of Eggshell (Cerasus Poetry)
"In The Poet Spells Her Name, Sarah Connor gives us a collection of poems that take the reader out into the wide night and the deep dark which ‘has its own gravity’. Verses are occupied with the company of wolves, the moon that is ‘teaching the sea to dance’. Even as the poet morns the loss of ash trees once ‘corseted with ivy’, she and her reader come to know migrations of birds as ‘an act of hope’. Connor’s work will visit you long after you have closed the pages, as you remember her words in places where ‘lost gods cling on’. "
George Sandifer-Smith, Poetry Wales Reviews Editor and author of Empty Trains (Broken Sleep)
“Whether she is conjuring the sudden apparition of a bird – a peacock’s colour rising out of dust, a moon as a thumbprint on an ink wash sky, or a haunted landscape of cigarette smoking dogs, Sarah Connor’s second-collection is filled with magic. Often stark in their simplicity, image after stunning image flashes out of the page and into the mind and heart.
At one point, the poet even turns the quotidian contents of a pocket into a moving catalogue of a life lived. From tin-foil foxes, to bone boxes and a meal of storms, ‘The Poet Spells Her Name’ is a collection to relish, full of poems with distinctive tangs and tastes that linger.”
Matt Gilbert, author of Street Sailing (Black Bough Poetry)
"The Poet Spells Her Name is a collection that resonates with authenticity and artistry. Sarah Connor's words offer readers a journey through landscapes both external and internal, while Matthew M. C. Smith's careful curation guides us through every poignant peak and contemplative valley. This collection is an ode to the transient nature of life and I wholeheartedly recommend it."
Alan Parry, author of Neon Ghosts (Broken Spine)
"This looking-glass collection’s wide-eyed wonder blossoms into maturity. Knowing when to hold the moon and when to heed wolves howling at the door, the poet casts a net of gossamer threads, light and dark, that leave nothing behind, not even the wintry heartbreak of goodbye."
Karen Pierce Gonzalez, author of Coyote in the Basket of My Ribs (Alabaster Leaves/Kelsay Books).
Sarah Connor has the poet’s courage: to hold an object, situation or feeling in her sight until it opens itself confidently to her compassionate gaze. Her voicing of what she sees is both tender and acute, and her imagery deft. Sincerity is a keynote.
Angela Graham, author of A City Burning (Seren Books)
Connor’s poetry sings: we are part of nature, not above it. The wise know this, the poet engages it. “Lost gods cling on here…whispering small promises”. Their whispers audible in every poem.
Let Connor lead you down green lanes, breathe in the cold mountain air. Her story is as raw and beautiful as nature itself.
M.S. Evans, Nights on the Line (Black Bough Poetry)
About Sarah Connor
Sarah Connor was born in Cornwall and brought up in South Yorkshire. Her first chapbook, The Crow Gods, was published by Sídhe Press in spring 2023. She has previously been published in a number of magazines and anthologies.
Sarah worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health services in Bristol and Devon, and has lived and worked in Australia and New Zealand and travelled across Australia and Asia. She is now based in North Devon. She is married, and with two children who are in the process of leaving home.
She has been writing seriously since 2014, blogging at fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com She has been a regular host at dVersepoets.com. Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and this was found to be metastatic in 2012.
About the Artist - Sarah-Jane Crowson
Sarah-Jane Crowson’s art and poetry is inspired by fairytales, nature and her personal emotional landscape. It is informed by ideas of accidental trespass, surrealism and romanticism. Her collages transform images and artefacts from historical popular culture into surreal, theatrical dreamscapes. Her images and words can be seen in various UK and US journals, including The Adroit Journal, Rattle, Waxwing Literary Journal, Petrichor, Sugar House Review and Iron Horse Literary Review. You can find her on Twitter: @Sarahjfc, Insta: @Sarah_jfc or on her website at www.sarahjanecrowson.art