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A long poem taking many forms, Swims begins and ends in Devon, moving across the waterways of England and Wales: from urban pond to open sea. The poet swims among fishermen on Grasmere, reimagines the body as bottle cap in the Channel, and clambers down the bank of the river Ouse with words scrawled on her swimsuit.
As political as they are personal, these meditations are conceived as environmental acts that probe the relationship between landscape, memory and the self. A sinuous, innovative debut, Swims reminds us of the power of swimming to transform the human spirit, registering what the water gives to us and what it takes away.
These poems flow and sing through salt and sweet water, connecting time and place and spirit in an electric gesture of natural unity. Swims is a wondrous, perfect thing.
Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR and Leviathan, or, The Whale
Cover design by George Simkin
Published 12 September 2017
A wondrous, perfect thing
Elizabeth-Jane Burnett is a poet and academic with a focus on innovative poetics. She holds a BA in English from Oxford, an MA and PhD in Contemporary Poetics from Royal Holloway, University of London, and studied performance at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York and Naropa. Creative publications include oh-zones, Her Body: The City, Exotic Birds and M (a poem-film about John Clare with artist Brian Shields). Her work has been anthologised in Dear World and Everyone In It: New Poetry in the UK (Bloodaxe, 2013) and Out of Everywhere 2: Linguistically Innovative Poetry by Women in North America and the UK (Reality Street, 2015). She curates ecopoetics exhibitions and is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newman University in Birmingham.