"Fossil Unicorn" is Sally Purcell's first collection for more than ten years and contains the very best of her work from that period. Drawing on folklore and medieval sources, these poems are tense yet fluid in rhythm and diction, and alive with a sense of the numinous underlying the world of the senses. Critics of her first collection, "The Holly Queen", spoke of 'the ghostly music' and 'diamantine elegance' of her poetry. These qualities have remained constant in her later work, in which she continues to explore the mysteries of the quest through legend and myth.
Sally Purcell studied French and Provencal at Oxford. A specialist in mediaeval literature, she has edited the anthology 'Monarchs and the Muse' (Carcanet, 1972), editions of George Peele and Charles d'Orleans (also for Carcanet) and has translated a selection of 'Provencal Poems'. Her previous collections are 'The Holly Queen' (Anvil, 1971), 'Dark of Day' (Anvil, 1977) and 'Lake and Labyrinth' (Taxvs, 1985). She is also the author (with William Leaf) of 'Heraldic Symbols' (V&A, 1986).