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POET & NOVELIST
ABOUT PENELOPE

Penelope Shuttle (born 1947) has made her home in Cornwall since 1970 and the county's mercurial weather

and rich history are continuing sources of inspiration. So too is the personal and artistic union Penelope

shared with her husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, until his untimely death in 2003.

"For me it is the way the poem breathes that gives it form"

Penelope Shuttle

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Penelope Shuttle’s new collection ‘Will You

Walk a Little Faster?’ published to celebrate

her 70th birthday on 12 May 2017.

Penelope Shuttle has made her home in Cornwall

since 1970 and the county’s mercurial weather and

rich history are continuing sources of inspiration.

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The fruitful nature of their relationship is celebrated in her

poetry and in the work they accomplished together, most

notably in the groundbreaking feminist studies on menstruation,

‘The Wise Wound’,and its sequel, ‘Alchemy for Women’.

Recognition came quickly for Penelope with an Eric Gregory -

Award in 1974 that acknowledged her poetry's visionary power.

This quality is something she shares with the poets she read in

translation, voices such as Rilke, Ahkmatova, and Lorca, whose

early influence was far more profound than the pervading

realism of the English poets of the period. Penelope has also

written five acclaimed novels as well as seven poetry collections,

her Selected Poems (OUP, 1998) being a Poetry Book Society -

Recommendation.


Penelope's poems are full of elemental imagery: water, earth and,

in particular, lightening, as in her description of her marriage in

'The Weather House' with its "trembling galvanic rooms". Whilst

her subject matter can be everyday - motherhood, depression,

bereavement - she refuses to be bound by anecdote, drawing

instead on myth and dream to transform reality: in her work "the

ordinary seen as heavenly" ('Thief') becomes the norm. In keeping

with her role as witness, Penelope's language sometimes has a  

ceremonial quality about it, a setting aside of words from their

everyday currency which is like the difference between a coin

used to buy bread and a coin thrown into a well as an offering

"Splashing down// for reverence, not luck" ('The Well at Mylor').

However, when dealing with the intimacies of family life, such

as the shift of a daughter into womanhood ('Outgrown') or the

process of grief, as in the moving sequence for her husband,

'Missing You', Penelope can be painfully direct. Please click here

to see Penelope read her long poem ‘Missing You’ from

‘Redgrove’s Wife’.


A recent comment on how Penelope shapes her work is revealing:

"For me it is the way the poem breathes that gives it form." This

close relationship between breath and word can be heard in her

elegant interpretation of her poems in which voice and line

match each other like partners in a dance.

AWARDS
1974

Eric Gregory Award

2007

Cholmondeley Award

Shortlisted for Forward Poetry Prize

Shortlisted for T. S. Eliot Prize

1972

Greenwood Poetry Prize

LINKS

The British Council

To view The British Council website, please click here.  


The Poetry International Foundation

To view The Poetry International Foundation website, please click here.


The Poetry Archive

To view The Poetry Archive website, please click here.


Poetry PF

To view the Poetry PF website, please click here.


The Poetry School

To view The Poetry School website, please click here.

PUBLISHERS

Bloodaxe Books Limited

To view all books published by Bloodaxe Books, please click here.


Nine Arches Press

To view all books published by Nine Arches Press, please click here.


Templar Poetry

To view all books published by Templar Poetry, please click here.


Indigo Dreams Publishing

To view all books published by Indigo Dreams Publishing, please click here.

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