Author(s): Rachael Boast
Void Studies, Rachel Boast's extraordinary new collection, realizes a project that the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud had proposed, but never written. Etudes neantes was to consist of poems written as musical etudes; these would not convey any direct message - but instead summon the abstract spirit of their subject. This 'impossible project' has been completed by Boast in the most astonishing way, and in doing so she has increased the expressive possibilities of poetry itself. These tone poems are indeed works of pure music - but despite their esoteric nature are by no means 'difficult' in the usual sense: instead they conjure the recognizable states, emotions, moods, ambiances and strange atmospheres that lend our lives meaning, and together comprise a kind of lexicon of feeling. Void Studies is an airy and beautiful book - one in which Boast has spun a pure music to both ask and answer the most profound questions poetry can frame.
The breathtaking new collection from the winner of the Forward and Seamus Heaney Prizes for poetry.
Shortlisted for T S Eliot Prize 2017.
Rachael Boast was born in Suffolk in 1975. Sidereal (Picador 2011) won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. She is editor of The Echoing Gallery: Bristol Poets and Art in the City (Redcliffe Press). Pilgrim's Flower (Picador 2013) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. She lives in Bristol.