Arguing with Malarchy is full of voices: tender, sinister or angry, they compel us to attend to their realities, the glimpsed depths of their stories, the distances they have travelled. Carola Luther’s poems are alert to the ways a life can be briefly snared in the turn of a phrase – or in the moment when language fails. She explores silence, absences, the unspoken communication between animals and human beings, the pauses and boundaries between what is remembered, forgotten or invented, the living and the dead. In the book’s first part, a chronicle of mourning writes out of the silence into ‘the bare threads of tunes’, to begin a new story. In the second part, Luther’s characters live in their language: ‘Keep talking,’ the old man tells Malarchy. We travel through elemental landscapes of sea and sky, shadows and wide savannahs that exist beyond language and sustain when words are silenced.
‘[Carola Luther’s] poems rarely stay still… invigorating and quietly disturbing.’ Stephen Knight, Times Literary Supplement
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CAROLA LUTHER is currently poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust in the Lake District. She was born in South Africa, but moved to the UK in 1981. She has worked in mental health, in NGO’s, and in theatre. She has published two collections of poetry, Walking the Animals, (Carcanet Press, 2004) and Arguing with Malarchy (Carcanet Press, 2011). In 2004, she was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection for Walking the Animals.