Opening with a death in winter, this is a tender work of mourning which is wonderfully moving but never dispiriting. Elaine Feinstein uses the remembered words of a much loved husband - sometimes affectionate, sometimes querulous - to invoke his solid presence; it is the man rather than her grief which is the centre of the book. Many lyrics recall the closeness of their last months together; others confess the ambivalence of a long marriage. Theirs was never an easy relationship, and she is not afraid to register the differences between them. With wry humour, she questions her own life before their meeting, and looks steadily at a future without him. As she imagines that future, she confronts the myths of an afterlife, a belief in God, her debts to other poets and her dependence on friends and children. Always in complete control of rhythm and tone, these beautiful lyrics explore the most intimate thoughts with a clarity and tenacity Ted Hughes once described as 'unique'. It is Elaine Feinstein's most passionate book of poetry.
Elaine Feinstein is a poet, novelist and biographer. Born in 1930 in Liverpool to parents of Jewish-Ukrainian descent, she grew up in Leicester and read English at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1980 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award. She has also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Leicester and three Arts Council Translation awards. Elaine has written for radio and television and is a regular reviewer for The Times and Poetry Review. She lives in London. Elaine Feinstein has published over thirty books, including fourteen novels and a biography of Ted Hughes. Carcanet publish her Selected Poems, her collections Gold and Daylight, her Collected Poems and Translations (a 2002 Poetry Book Society Special Commendation) and After Pushkin, her anthology of contemporary responses to the poetry of Alexander Pushkin. Her versions of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva were first published in 1971, and remain in print from OUP / Carcanet in the UK and Penguin in USA. Elaine Feinstein has recently published a biography of the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, Anna of All the Russias (Weidenfeld and Nicolson).