Friday, 8 May 2015

The Ted Hughes Award Citation for Imagined Sons

"The poems in Carrie Etter’s poignant collection, Imagined Sons, coalesce around a haunting: though the poems are spoken by the birth-mother, it is the son who takes centre stage, his absence experienced as a real and pervasive presence throughout. The sequence is a montage of fictional fragments, each fragment representing one of an infinite number of possible versions of the mother/son relationship. We loved this book’s innovative arrangement: the ten regularly occurring ‘catechisms’ interleaved among thirty-eight prose poems, and contained within an over-arching circularity of structure – beginning, as it does, with the refrain How did you let him go? and ending with the unsettling When will you let him go? But above all, we were delighted by the variety of tone ­– from heart-breaking to funny to frightening – and by the mix of the fantastic and the mundane, of fairy tale and contemporary detail. This is a book to be read and reread."

Ted Hughes Award judges, 2015

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