Caroline has had six books published by Carcanet Press: The Air Year (2020,) In These Days of Prohibition (2017), The Hat Stand Union (2013), Watering Can (2009), Trouble Came to the Turnip (2006) and Looking Through Letterboxes (2002). Carcanet Press is a leading publisher of contemporary poetry based in the United Kingdom and founded in 1969 by Michael Schmidt. Carcanet publishes the work of many leading poets including John Ashbery, Kei Miller, Sinead Morrissey and Edwin Morgan. Caroline’s books can all be purchased directly from Carcanet here.
Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/d15caro/public_html/wp-content/themes/ubergrid/pukka/classes/dm/dynamic.meta.accordion.class.php on line 135
The Hat Stand Union
Trouble Came to the Turnip
Looking Though Letterboxes
Playful in earnest, Caroline Bird in her fourth book of poems turns familiar stories on their heads. Adrift in a surreal world of the everyday, Bird’s protagonists declaim Chekhov in supermarkets, purchase mail-order tears, sing love-songs to hat-stands. At the centre of the collection Bird evokes the sinister side of Camelot, haunted by the experiments of its crazed tyrant-king. Bird’s characters and voices are at once savvy and vulnerable; underlying the exuberance is empathy with those who have lost themselves somewhere along the way. The everyday world of The Hat-Stand Union is beautiful, ominous and full of surprise.
'Bird is irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry. The work erupts, spring-loaded, funny, sad, deadly - you don't know if a bullet will come out of the barrel or a flag with the word BANG on it.' Simon Armitage
'Caroline Bird has always written wise, bitterly funny and intellectually bracing poems.What has developed over the course of four collections is a voice heartbreaking in vision while simultaneously consoling in its constant and inspired invention.' Luke Kennard
'A carnival of characters spills out of these poems, chased by paparazzi, doing somersaults and cartwheels with language... Caroline Bird puts us on the inside looking deeper in, under the glittering skin to the place where laughter begins, where mothers are children, where people feel pain and speak in tongues, where tongues are knives and "Someone still has to stay here and die".' Imtiaz Dharker
Caroline Bird’s two earlier collections were acclaimed for their exuberant energy, surreal imagination and passion - 'a bit of a Howl for a new generation', wrote the Hudson Review. Watering Can celebrates life as an early twenty-something. The poems, writes Caroline Bird, 'contain prophetic videos, a moon colonised by bullies, weeping scholars, laughing ducks, silent weddings - all the fertiliser that pours on top of your head.' The extraordinary verve and compassion of her verse propels us into the anxiety of new responsibilities. Raw but never hopeless, Watering Can has comedy, wordplay and bright self-deprecation.
What an original captivating and spellbinding voice. Bird is fearless like 'the girl who dropped her ice-cream down a volcano and leaped in after it'. She’s dangerous and witty too with a rare quality of imagination. This is a wonder, a beautifully written book of poems. Lemn Sissay
Following Looking Through Letterboxes, her first collection (2002), Caroline Bird was acclaimed as a vivid and precocious new talent. Trouble Came to the Turnip confirms her originality as she strikes out again in new directions, taking nothing for granted. Her poems are ferociously vital, fantastical, sometimes violent, almost always savagely humorous and self-mocking. Caroline Bird's world is inhabited by failed and (less often) successful relationships, by the dizzying crisis of early adulthood, by leprechauns and spells and Miss Pringle's seven lovely daughters waiting to spring out of a cardboard cake. And the turnip.
'Winsome, intelligent and startlingly mature...wild and fantastic, suggesting an original mind and a singular vision.' Poetry London
Caroline Bird first appears to be a traditional storyteller. But the stories she tells (or conceals) are suspended in a language charged with metaphor, and most of them are built upon foundations which are strangely familiar: fairy tale, fantasy and the bitter-sweet world of romance. The further one reads in her haunted tales, the more remarkable becomes the variety of forms, metres and rhythms she uses, and the clearer their appropriateness to her themes.
The poems can at first appear to be topical, 'Year of the Woman', for example, 'Gothic', 'Dusk and Petrol' - yet the poets take on reality is informed by a paradoxically knowing innocence. Things are not ever as they seem, and the poems bring us closer to how the world 'really' is. They work metaphorically through our expectations and prejudices, those that are encapsulated in cliché and aphorism, which she rearranges and reanimates ('with a step/ in your dance, a forecast for lightning'), or those that relate to the world of childhood ('I came to see if you were ok') where language itself has never quite got a grip. In the poems of Caroline Bird gender politics are starkly redefined, as are the languages with which generations communicate and fail to agree.
'An astonishingly assured piece of work.' Ruth Padel, Financial Times
'Her poems burst with linguistic energy.'
Stephen Knight, Times Literary Supplement
'quite magical' Scotsman
'What a debut!' Poetry London
In These Days Of Prohibition
A great performer on page and stage, Caroline Bird in her fifth collection pretends to lay down her celebrated satiric weaponry to seek out ‘simple truth’. Venturing into the badlands of the human psyche, she finds more than we bargained for. From a geriatric thrill-seeker more concerned with sexual experimentation than reading the Radio Times, to a self storage facility that holds people's shameful secrets rather than their belongings, Caroline's direct and unflinching approach cuts to the heart of the human experience, our fears, loves and internal conflicts.