Jen Hadfield (Bloodaxe Books, 2008)
Recommended by Isabel Galleymore
As in all of Jen Hadfield’s poetry collections, Nigh-No-Place explores the Shetland landscape in an intimate and yet estranging manner. Her eye for detail and ear for sound brings us the more curious and overlooked parts of the landscape. Inventive and often curious images lead the writing, as well as her sensitive use of the Shetland dialect. My favourite poem is ‘Daed-traa’ (a Shetland word used for ‘the slack of the tide’) that is an extraordinary feat of mixed metaphor in which a manifesto for poetry is entangled within the landscape itself and its inhabiting creatures: ‘I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide / to mind me what my poetry’s for… It has its Little Shop of Horrors. / It has its crossed and dotted monsters’.