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Falling Awake


Alice Oswald (Author)

Overview | Formats

Winner of the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize: "Vivid…further proof of [Oswald's] bold engagement with poetry’s narrative possibilities." —Teju Cole

Alice Oswald’s award-winning and highly acclaimed volume Memorial (“wryly ingenious,” said the New York Times Book Review) portrays fallen soldiers from Homer’s Iliad. Falling Awake expands on that imagery—defining life as a slowly falling weight, where beings fight against their inevitable end. Oswald reimagines classical figures such as Orpheus and Tithonus alive in an English landscape together with shadows, flies, villagers, dew, crickets—all characterized in tension between the weight of death and their own willpower.

let me shuffle forward
and tell you the two minute life of rain
starting right now
lips open and lidless cold all-seeing gaze

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • August 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-28528-4
  • 5.7 × 8.6 in / 96 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverFalling Awake: Poems


Endorsements & Reviews

“[Oswald] writes a poetry of the natural world saturated with myth. A long poem about the dawn, 'Tithonus,' may be the most beautiful work I read all year.” — Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

“Minutely detailed, ravishing, and rapturously observant. . . . [A] perpetual inspiration.” — The New Yorker

“Uncompromising and precise visions of a haunting range of experiences and obscure actions.” — Los Angeles Review of Books

“ Oswald’s choices are subtle at first, as she intermingles stark images — such as a rotting swan — with exquisite writing and inserts characters from Greek mythology into the English countryside. These lyrics, while often dark, illustrate poetry’s unique ability to shock readers into a renewed awareness of the world.” — The Washington Post

“Alice Oswald’s poems are vivid and distinct, alert and deeply, physically engaged in the natural world. . . . [P]oems of simple, stunning beauty.” — Poetry Daily

“[Oswald] writes with a mind for sounds, syllables, and the patters of speech, informed and inspired by oral storytelling traditions.” — Bustle

“Nothing is quite like Oswald’s 'Tithonus.' . . . Extraordinarily intriguing.” — Booklist

“With the sparkle of black jewels; for all poetry fans.” — Library Journal

Also by Alice Oswald All

  1. Book CoverMemorial: A Version of Homer's Iliad


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