Shrines Of Upper Austria
First full debut from a promising young poet reflects a risky exploration of the unfamiliar and a search for strangeness, spirituality and stories.
Winner of the 2018 Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection
Winner of a 2019 Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors
A Poetry Book Society Spring 2018 Recommendation
Shortlisted for the 2019 Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize
Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize
Wandering in central Europe, a traveller observes and records a landscape of lakes, folk culture and uneasy histories. Phoebe Power’s Shrines of Upper Austria gathers numerous stories and perspectives, such as the fragmented narrative of an Austrian woman who married a British soldier after the Second World War, and the voices of schoolchildren and immigrants. Strange discoveries are made: a grave for two dead goats; a lantern procession on the night of Epiphany; a baby abandoned by a river; a homemade frog-puppet.
The poems are a collage of stories and histories, set in a variety of forms and registers. They are attentive to local detail, rich in the names of people and places – Marija, Omegepta, Eck 4 and the Loser Mountain. Mixing poetry and prose, image and narrative, German and English, Power’s poems are a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. Against a disquieting backdrop of mild winters and memories of snow, they invite us to question what it means to feel at once a stranger and at home.
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