Of Mutability: Jo Shapcott

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This year the Costa Book of the Year prize winner was very deservingly Jo Shapcott and her collection of poems entitled Of Mutability. I read an interview in The Telegraph with her by Sinclair McKay in which Jo talks about how her poems are about much more than her fight with cancer and the medical treatment that she received. Although the collection openly 'owes everything to Dr Sam Guglani, Dr Sean Elyan and their team at Hereford County Hospital' the poems are easily adaptable to the everyday notions of life and explores the beauty of the simplest raindrop. Each poem transforms the mundane activities we take for granted and the stanzas overflow with a fresh vitality, breathing life into the small wonders which are often skimmed over by the distracted human eye.

I've just finished reading Jo's book and I actually found most of her poems to be quite relative to my own life, and I'm sure if you read it, you would also feel a sense of  recognition. My favourite piece in the collection is called Religion for Girls, I read it on my way to Liverpool Street station, and it had a really calming influence on me during the normal busy commute. The poem is below, I hope it makes you feel as happy as it made me feel. 

If you don't like it, then that's fine, but if you do, go and buy her book - it's worth the few pennies to see the rain differently.

These lines from Religion for Girls
  'all of these gods and bits of gods left here / to chew over the wandering mortals of London / as we chant our Evening Standards to ourselves' 
will stay with me for a very long time.

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  1. I love Jo Shapcott's poems! And "Religion for girls" is also one of my favs. The Underground Goddess to supervise the tube, the chanted Evening Standards, all this is so London and such a strong female voice.
    There can be found so much strength in her style.