Leaf Graffiti, Lucy Burnett’s first collection, is restless, the poems always moving, playfully exploring the interface between words and things, rural and urban, nature and the human world. Fascinated by sequence, repetition and variation, the poet uses words, and the white spaces surrounding them, as raw materials: ‘i lay these words before your mind like bricks / yet tentative’. The music of her work, and the urgency of her themes, propel us towards conclusions that nonetheless only be provisional: ‘if further centres / further into circles / if the weight of the world is a story cupped in cumulus’. Leaf Graffiti is an innovative and passionate debut collection.
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‘This is a book to read and reread, revelling in the surprise of image and multiple forms, and inspiring a paradoxical vision of the everyday world: “incorrigibly plural” yet concentrated, intense.’
‘Zings with an energy like beat poetry over car-parks, cafes, bank queues, Sunday hangovers, cycle rides, office work and a whole ecology of the urban environment…the collection has a strong visual sense (the terrific cover-image is by the poet too), a nice way with simile (a city seafront ‘like built graffiti’) and a number of closing poems about Icarus, who notes wryly that ‘It’s a warmer world/ the closer you fly/ to the sun.”
‘Lucy Burnett’s first collection is beyond promising . Here is a poet who has waited to publish until she has explored poetic technique enough to find her own way and who also has much on her mind. Considerations of matters of place, culture and environment are foremost in her work…her formal explorations [also] overlap with reflections on gender, romance and the body…she is equally challenging and, at times, original in this.’
‘With summer ever more notional in Scotland, we have to take our sunny moments where we find them. And “Yellowbells” by Lucy Burnett has something of the summer about it, a summer as impossible, perhaps, as the yellowbells of the title. It’s taken from her impressive debut Leaf Graffiti.’