Penelope Shuttle’s new collection explores cities (London, Bristol) on foot and via inward exploration, drawing on architecture, history and personal memory. These are poems drawn from the flipside of experience, undermining and rebuilding syntax in order to precipitate language, and, in the main, abjuring punctuation. The poems also engage both with active and meditative thinking in order to establish a vulnerable and temporary equilibrium; poems more interested in framing questions than arriving at answers.
The volatile and tactile realities and delusions of being in the world direct much of the language’s traffic here; there’s a commingling of sadness and wry humour in Shuttle’s travels through our physical and metaphysical worlds. Pared-back imagery and lyric purpose are embodied here throughout in the work of a poet who agrees with Ekbert Faas’s comment: ‘as soon as you have a new syntax, you have a new way of breathing, and as soon as you have that you have a new consciousness’.
Will you walk a little faster? is Penelope Shuttle’s first new book-length collection since her Bloodaxe retrospective, Unsent: New & Selected Poems (2012), and is published on her 70th birthday.
‘One of our most compellingly sensuous poets… Shuttle is a poet of immense reach, both in the range of her subject-matter and the breadth of her language. She is both an acute observer and an inventive fiction-maker. One senses that she has her life perfectly in tune with her poetry, so that it registers the slightest variation in her state of being. In this sense, the narratives of emotional, erotic and maternal love that can be traced through these poems collocate into the drama of a life lived in the full flood of being' – Gerard Woodward, TLS
‘Penelope Shuttle, as both thinker and poet, seems to me exemplary in her use of the intuitive faculty: a self-forgetful procedure for the renewal of awareness which one might describe as the making of leaps, rather than the taking of "logical" steps, or what Virilio, discussing Proust, calls "the Sophist idea of agape, the suddenness of this possible entry into another logic".’ – John Burnside, Poetry Review
'Her language is worked into something as fluid, slippery and refreshing as a spring. She writes with a buoyant, graceful confidence and she is a unique voice in contemporary British poetry’ – PBS Bulletin
Penelope Shuttle reads 'Missing You'
Penelope Shuttle reads her long elegiac poem 'Missing You' from Unsent. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley.