Inside the Wave: Book summary and reviews of Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore

Inside the Wave

by Helen Dunmore

Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore X
Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2017
    64 pages
    Genre: Poetry

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Book Summary

Winner of the 2018 Costa Book Award

Poems about mortality, illness, being alive, and the borderline between the living human world and the underworld.

Inside the Wave is British poet Helen Dunmore's first new poetry book since The Malarkey (2012), whose title-poem (submitted anonymously) won the National Poetry Competition. Helen Dunmore died in 2017 aged 64, so this is expected to be her final collection.

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Book Awards

  • award image Costa Book Awards, 2017

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Dunmore recently spoke of the necessity for "rhythmic completion" in poetry. Here the poise that balances the escaping moment draws on Old Testament parallelism, while the closing line alludes to the Book of Job ("Man that is born of woman"). Such devices and references would until quite recently have been taken for granted as common knowledge. Dunmore's may be the last generation to reach instinctively for scripture, to regard it as common imaginative property. The scope of her poetry grows in part from her confidence in such proverbial resources and the long view they confer on ostensibly remote matters." - The Guardian, Sean O'Brien

"An astonishing set of poems - a final, great achievement." - Costa Poetry Award Judges Moniza Alvi, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Nick Wroe on Inside the Wave, winner of the Costa Poetry Award

"…it is just a completely standout collection... so relatable to anyone who has experienced loss on any level – and it's incredibly moving, even if you didn't know it was Dunmore's final collection." - Kiran Millwood Hargrave, one of the Costa Poetry Prize judges

"It's a phenomenal book... an absolute standout book." - Alex Clarke, reviewing Inside the Wave for Radio 4's Front Row (Costa Book Awards Shortlists announcement)

"2017 saw the loss of many loved poets. Inside the Wave by the late Helen Dunmore ensures her beautiful light will continue to reach earth." – Carol Rumens, The Observer (Poetry Books of the Year)

"Helen Dunmore's final collection of poems, Inside the Wave, is heartbreaking: she was a poet always in her heart, and she left us far too soon when she died in June." – Erica Wagner, New Statesman (Books of the Year)

"She was – first and last – a poet. Her first collection, The Apple Fall, was published when she was 30, her last, Inside the Wave, in April this year... Her last collection is her most spare and moving. Inside the Wave is smooth as a sea pebble and liminal – poised between life and death." - Kate Kellaway, in her tribute to Helen Dunmore in The Guardian

"The wave in this humane and visionary collection symbolises the flow of time and tide around and over individual lives… Lying down and watching the world at eye level constitutes much of what poets and novelists do and Dunmore's work in both genres is always alive with sensuous detail." – Carol Rumens, Poetry Book of the Month, The Observer

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Author Information

Helen Dunmore Author Biography

Helen Dunmore was born in Yorkshire, England in 1952. In a career spanning three decades she published fifteen novels, three short story collections, prize-winning children's fiction and twelve collections of poetry. Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, was published in 2017, as was her last poetry collection, Inside the Wave. Dunmore died on June 5, 2017, aged 64.

Of her many novels, most are works of historical fiction, ranging in time and setting from ancient Rome in Counting the Stars (2008) to the Cold War world of espionage in Exposure (2016). Her debut, Zennor in Darkness (1993) was set in World War I. Twentieth century conflicts, and their effects on individuals and families are subjects she returned to frequently. Many of her books also center on themes of secrecy and ...

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