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The fifth and best collection of poetry from the award-winning author of Rembrandt Would Have Loved You.
Beginning with a love letter and ending with a haunting meditation on departure and migration, Voodoo Shop takes the reader on a series of spectacular journeys across the world. Tori Amos chooses a piano in Vienna; Bridget Riley argues about art in a Venetian piazza; lovers buy each other voodoo dolls in Rio. The poems are separate dramatic scenarios with a strikingly varied cast of characters, but taken all together, they enact a single love story.
This remarkable book brings us an intimate and moving interpretation of the life and work of Charles Darwin, by Ruth Padel, an acclaimed British poet and a direct descendant of the famous scientist.
Charles Darwin, born in 1809, lost his mother at the age of eight, repressed all memory of her, and poured his passion into solitary walks, newt collecting, and shooting. His five-year voyage on H.M.S. Beagle, when he was in his twenties, changed his life. Afterward, he began publishing his findings and working privately on groundbreaking theories about the development of animal species, including human beings, and he made a nervous proposal to his cousin Emma.
Padel’s poems sparkle with nuance and feeling as she shows us the marriage that ensued, and the rich, creative atmosphere the Darwins provided for their ten children. Charles and Emma were happy in each other, but both were painfully aware of the…[more]
Poet, writer, and descendant of Charles Darwin, Ruth Padel set out to visit a tropical jungle and wildlife sanctuary in India—and her visit turned into a remarkable two-year journey through eleven countries in search of that most elusive and most beautiful animal: the tiger. Armed with her grandmother’s opera glasses and Tunisian running shoes, she set off across Asia to ask the question: can the tiger be saved from extinction in the wild?
Tigers are an “umbrella species”, they need everything in the forest to work in tandem: they eat deer, the deer need vegetation, the vegetation has to be pollinated by birds, mammals, rodents and butterflies. If you save the tiger, you save everything else. Today, the 5,000 tigers that still survive in the wild live only in Asia and are scattered throughout 14 countries. Padel says that while tigers will never become extinct—they are too popular for that—they may disappear from the wild. There are…[more]
Hallucinatory and lyrical, these poems cross Pizza Hut with mating alligators and endangered animal species with stage directions for Beauty and the Beast. Making wild connections over space and time, this new collection displays her gift for getting into the same register areas of life that are normally far apart. Full of wildlife and color, these poems explore new extremes of voice, range, and poetics, linking mythology and zoological science to rich descriptive powers, vivid speaking voice, and passionate, sensual language. Starting from London streets, Soho, and Kings Cross, the poems reach out to the Amazon, Siberia, Mexico, Louisiana wetlands, Mayan myth, ancient Athenian politicians, Tudor England, and the human need for stories. Thoughts turn into music in an enchanted castle, a crocodile-god waves the feather of truth at Judas, and a downloaded Buddha opens his eyes when highlighted on a laptop. The works explore a year of urban fox life, watch a prehistoric storyteller defrosting, hear invisible alligators explain scarring in the human epidermis, all while an elephant embroidered by Mary Queen of Scots nearly—but not quite—touches the spinet played by the woman who executed her.