Books

Emerald

Ruth Padel

An elegy to a lost mother, Emerald is the moving new collection from prize-winning poet Ruth Padel

‘Here in deep earth, the black
blossom of mourning still sifting within me
I remembered that emerald was my birthstone …’


Prize-winning poet Ruth Padel’s heartfelt new collection is a grief observed: an elegy for her mother on her death at the age of ninety-seven.

Exploring the riches of emerald lore, Padel follows the glint of green – ‘green for awakening / for bringing life back from the dead’ – from memories of her mother, a naturalist, to the black honeycomb of a Colombian emerald mine and sunset-pink of the Emerald City, Jaipur. Beneath everything shines the jewel itself, ‘the only stone in which the flaws are prized’.

Beautifully carved and cadenced, Emerald is a moving chronicle of value and loss, and a celebration of all that is precious in the life that remains.

Tidings

Ruth Padel

‘Come with me
to St Pancras Old Church, on a little London hill...’

It’s Christmas Eve and on this enchanted night Charoum, the Angel of Silence, can speak. As night turns to day, he unfolds a resonant story of a little girl, a homeless man and a fox...

In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Tidings takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe – as dawn sweeps from East Australia to Bethlehem, from London to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection.

Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth

Ruth Padel

'Making is our defence against the dark...'

Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, Ruth Padel’s powerful new poems address the Middle East, tracing a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, the central instrument of Middle Eastern music , is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives attacks, a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camp learns capoeira, and a guide shows us Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the heart of the book are Christ’s last words from the Cross.

Uniting this moving collection is the common ground shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music and making. With care and empathy, Ruth Padel suggests how rifts in the Holy Land speak to conflict in our own hearts. 'We identify. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.'

Poems from The Mara Crossing

Ruth Padel (and others)

Home is where you start from, but where is a swallow's real home? And what does 'native' mean if the English oak is an immigrant from Spain?

In a selection of richly varied poems and illuminating prose interludes from her collection The Mara Crossing, Ruth Padel weaves science, myth, wild nature and human history to conjure a world created and sustained by migration.

'We're all from somewhere else,' she begins, tracing the millennia-old journeys of cells, trees, birds and beasts. Geese battle raging winds over Mount Everest, lemurs skim precipices in Madagascar and wildebeest, at the climax of their epic trek from Tanzania, brave a river filled with the largest, hungriest crocodiles in Africa.

Human migration has shaped civilisation but today is one of the greatest challenges the world faces. In a series of incisive portraits, Padel turns to the struggles of human displacement - the Flight into Egypt, John James Audubon emigrating to America (feeding migrant birds en route), migrant workers in Mumbai and refugees labouring over a drastically changing planet - to show how the purpose of migration, for both humans and animals, is survival.

Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, here is a magnificent tapestry of life on the move from the acclaimed author of Darwin: A Life in Poems.

The Mara Crossing

Ruth Padel

Home is where you start from, but where is a swallow's real home? And what does 'native' mean if the English oak is an immigrant from Spain?

In ninety richly varied poems and illuminating prose interludes, Ruth Padel's original new book weaves science, myth, wild nature and human history to conjure a world created and sustained by migration.

'We're all from somewhere else,' she begins, tracing the millennia-old journeys of cells, trees, birds and beasts. Geese battle raging winds over Mount Everest, lemurs skim precipices in Madagascar and wildebeest, at the climax of their epic trek from Tanzania, brave a river filled with the largest, hungriest crocodiles in Africa.

Human migration has shaped civilisation but today is one of the greatest challenges the world faces. In a series of incisive portraits, Padel turns to the struggles of human displacement - the Flight into Egypt, John James Audubon emigrating to America (feeding migrant birds en route), migrant workers in Mumbai and refugees labouring over a drastically changing planet - to show how the purpose of migration, for both humans and animals, is survival.

Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, here is a magnificent tapestry of life on the move from the acclaimed author of Darwin: A Life in Poems.

Darwin

Ruth Padel

In these extraordinary poems, using multiple viewpoints - from Darwin himself, to his beloved wife Emma, and even, at one point, the orangutang at London Zoo - Ruth Padel illuminates the development of Darwin's thought, the drama of the discovery of evolution, and the fluctuating emotions of Darwin the husband, the naturalist and the tender father, in a powerful tribute to her famous ancestor.

Shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Poetry Award.

The Origin of Species and the Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin (and others)

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DARWIN'S GREAT-GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER, RUTH PADEL

When the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin returned from South America on board the H.M.S Beagle in 1836, he brought with him the notes and evidence which would form the basis of his landmark theory of evolution of species by a process of natural selection. This theory, published as The Origin of Species in 1859, is the basis of modern biology and the concept of biodiversity. It also sparked a fierce scientific, religious and philosophical debate which still continues today.

The Poem and the Journey

Ruth Padel

Prize-winning poet Ruth Padel is renowned as a guide to understanding today's poetry. Her much-loved 52 Ways of Looking at a Poem introduced the contemporary poetry scene and discussed individual poems. Her new book, invaluable for all who want to write as well as read poems, reveals the journey of thought, language and music within sixty more poems and also shows how poems fortify us on the journey of our lives, in a collection of essays written in elegant, accessible prose.

The Soho Leopard

Ruth Padel

Beautiful, disturbing and a pleasure to read, Ruth Padel's new poems are her most ambitious yet, adding animal legend and zoological science to her glitteringly imaginative canvas. With her gift for bringing together experiences and tones of voice that normally stay far apart, she sweeps us from Dulwich Pizza Hut to ancient Siberia, King's Cross to nineteenth-century Burma. We meet Socrates, urban foxes, Louisiana alligators and the endangered Amur leopard in poems resonating with sensuous delight in nature, but also with history and loss.

Finally, a Chinese painter searches for tigers in a forest doomed to the sawmill while the minister who sold it scoffs an aphrodisiac bowl of tiger-penis soup.

Hallucinatory and lyrical, passionately musical, seething with life, The Soho Leopard explores our human need for wildness- and also for stories, wherever we find them. A wonderfully ferocious new collection from one of our most exciting poets.

52 Ways Of Looking At A Poem

Ruth Padel

Ever wondered about how to really interpret poetry? Puzzled about metre, rhyming and stanzas? Presented in language thoroughly accessible for all, poet and writer Ruth Padel demystifies poetic style, structure and meaning in this comprehensive anthology of modern poems

Based on the author’s popular column in The Independent on Sunday, each poem is accompanied by an informative and entertaining explanatory excerpt by Padel. Featuring an assortment of contemporary poets from Carol Ann Duffy to Seamus Heaney, the collection thematically encompasses universal subjects of love, sex, family, death, as well as more obscure matters – for instance, loneliness when listening to the shipping forecast. A poem for each week of the year, Padel’s exploration of the literary form expertly combines technical analysis with imaginative, creative interpretation – sure to make any reader fall in love with the modern verse.

‘She argues away the idea that contemporary poetry is "difficult": all it needs is a little work and the rewards are great’ Sunday Times

Rembrandt Would Have Loved You

Ruth Padel

Ruth Padel's passionate new collection is a woman's eye view of a love affair, with darker undercurrents of mortality and loss. Shifting between vulnerability and guilt, innocence and doubt, tenderness and frustration, teasing reproach and the exaltation of deep love and sexual happiness, Padel's extraordinarily bold and intimate book explores the complexity of emotions that go with falling in love.

Wonderfully versatile in tone, it blends the lyrical and the colloquial, formality and wit, myth and the Spice Girls. It includes the poem that won the 1996 National Poetry Competition 'Icicles round a tree in Dumfriesshire'.

Fusewire

Ruth Padel

Fusewire has the fierce historical awareness and linguistic energy of Ruth Padel's previous collections but moves into new territory and new clarity. Poems on British activity in Ireland through the ages intrude on an intensely moving series of love poems which reverse sexual clichés of colonisation: here Britain is female and Ireland the high-profile man.

From the prize-winning poet of Rembrandt Would Have Loved You, Voodoo Shop and The Soho Leopard, all shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

Biography

Ruth Padel is a prizewinning poet, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Professor of Poetry at King’s College London. Her recent collections include Darwin: A Life in Poems, on her great-grandfather Charles Darwin; The Mara Crossing, on migration and immigration; Tidings: A Christmas Journey, and Emerald, a poignant elegy for her mother. She lives in London.