Love & lust, betrayal & endurance, disturbance & peace, life & loss, nature & modern society, language & what lies in the shadows between lines all feature in Sarah’s latest work.
Following on from her prize-winning first collection, 'Be[yond]' combines Sarah’s characteristic crafting and eye for detail, imagery and metaphor with a new, more probing, approach to language and poetics.
The three sections of this collection – Against Air and Water, Through the Ether and From Earth and Fire – guide readers past the beaches of Birmingham, through meditations on water, a dreamworld strangeness, mezzanine memories of France, defamiliarised cityscapes and gorse wildlands to the edges of everyday life, love and language.
In the words of other poets:
“Moving on from her very successful first collection, Sarah James shows that she is not afraid to take risks. Experimenting almost scientifically with form and language, ‘Be [yond] ‘ is innovative and adventurous and at the same time accessible and enjoyable.”
– Jacqui Rowe
“An inventive voice emerging out of the entwined interstices of the domestic and the relational: precisely observed, embodied, thick with language.”
– Scott Thurston
“Sarah James’s work is innovative and still accessible. She clearly has a keen ear for sounds and rhythms combined with an appreciation of language and the construction of words. Be[yond] is a rewarding read.”
– Emma Lee, from her review in The Journal #41, Jan 2014
“My favorite part of the book is the first section. The poems all focus on water and have a cool, almost scientific atmosphere that belies the waves of emotion crashing within each poem. Each poem has a wonderful quality I would describe as without/within. The narrator seems to stand outside the poem calmly describing each carefully constructed image and idea and then with a whoosh the emotion brings the reader inside, within the heart of the poem almost with a sharp slap of cold water.”
– Ruth Stacey
Micro-reviewed by Sarah Westcott on her blog The Literary Loper:
“Sarah James’ collection Be[yond] (knives forks and spoons press) is unlike anything I have read. Loosened from the ties of traditional syntax, James’ confident compositions are unafraid to sing into silences on the page and holler into the philosophical ‘void’ with many possibilities simultaneously held at once. There is also much sound and sense play, and a glee in experimentation with language.
– Sarah Westcott
I enjoyed the freedom of this book and the sense of a mind pushing at the limits, but remaining accessible, indeed bidding the reader to come along too.”
– Robin Houghton