Tripping Over Clouds issues a bold challenge to Ezra Pound’s maxim to ‘go in fear of abstractions’. Underpinning this is a re-imagining of abstraction as a prior state of possibility and potential from which the world and ourselves are constantly re-emerging – as abstraction to, not from. Both philosophical and fresh, the poetry trips off and back onto the page, like the fellrunner in its opening section: ‘to talk about / the pleasure principle / of falling downhill fastly’. Lucy Burnett’s second collection explores how we fetch up with the world in all its variety, difficulty and beauty, ranging across encounters with mountains, love, contemporary politics and visual art. Ultimately this is a poetry which asserts hope, and playfulness, as strategies for navigating an inherently changeable sense of now.
Peter Riley, the Fortnightly Review: ‘the writing is distinguished by a tenuousness as if the details are created one by one out of the possibility of their existence, something that has to be coaxed by creating space for it to happen in. The lived real and the generalised can co-exist, side by side, each feeding the other.’
Grevel Lindop: ‘Lucy Burnett’s poems involve us in a vivid experience of the self in landscape and language, moving playfully but with an intensity that at times leaves us breathless and amazed.’
Helen Tookey: ‘There is something of Dylan Thomas in the exuberant wordplay and feeling for place, and something of W.S. Graham in her exploration of language and landscape as the twin territories within which we live… Burnett’s subjects are serious ones, but her poems are joyful to read, revelling in the endless possibilities of language and of the world itself, “in whatever colour you might come”.’
Image below from the joint launch with Helen Tookey & Jeremy Over, in conversation with Michael Schmidt: