Friday 6 November 2020

Caroline Hardaker, "Little Quakes Every Day"

Caroline Hardaker lives in the north east of England and writes quite a lot of things. She earned her BA (English Literature) and MA (Cultural and Heritage Studies) from Newcastle University, and writes poetry, fiction, libretto, and occasional scripts, too.

Caroline’s debut poetry collection, Bone Ovation, was published by Valley Press in 2017, and her first full length collection, Little Quakes Every Day, will be published by Valley Press on 9th November 2020. Her debut novel, Composite Creatures, will also be published by Angry Robot in April 2021.

Caroline’s poetry has been published worldwide, most recently in Magma, The Interpreter’s House, The Emma Press, Neon Magazine, Shoreline of Infinity, Eyewear Publishing’s Best New British and Irish Poets, and Contemporary British Poetry from Platypus Press.

Caroline’s worked with various organisations and community groups to advocate the holistic benefits of writing and making. She currently works as the Content Manager for Newcastle University in the north east of England. In 2019, Caroline was the Writer in Residence for ‘Moving Parts’ Newcastle Puppetry Festival and a Theatre Reviewer for NARC Magazine. Throughout 2019 and 2020, she’s collaborating with the Royal Northern College of Music to produce a cycle of operatic art songs to be performed at festivals across the UK. In September 2020, Folk Tales premiered at the Tête à Tête Festival in London.

You can read more and follow her adventures on her writers’ blog.

About Little Quakes Every Day

In Caroline Hardaker's first full-length collection of poetry, readers will find tales of human evolution and natural laws, of technology, of the world's problems and the twisted inventions we create. Each encounter takes a host of characters to the brink of epiphany – sometimes they’ll burn bright, and sometimes they’ll fall apart.

Through the poems in the collection, the book imagines a world of explorers, philosophers, automatons, wild things, and the ghosts that dwell deep in the heart of the earth itself.

Caroline says, “The poems in this collection have been developed over a three year period, in which I wanted to explore the nature of discoveries in history and mythology and how they impact our everyday lives. I’ve balanced these larger questions with everyday ‘kitchen sink’ encounters, to demonstrate that both have a huge impact on our lives.”

You can find out more about Little Quakes Every Day and pre-order the book here.

Below, you can read two poems from the book. 

From Little Quakes Every Day

On Polar Bears Brought Together by the Death of a Humpback Whale

The boulders approach, grown with hoary turf
and smudging rune-marks across the tundra;
a moving tide to mount the hunt that’s found.
Jaws meet meat in many places to break the hide.

In the belly, brothers do not know brothers;
skins smell of sleep, birth-blood lost, and the beasts
take turns to tear out the swim-bladder or fists
of blubber. The bears are tied together with ropes

of knotted gut, and each hollows out his grotto
from fat, oiling his coat as if preparing for battle in woad –
but white as snow. Drifts of broad backs reinvent genesis.
Slow stomachfuls last a day, a night, a day,

and pressing for the last, boulders roll in the colossal arch;
ribs hanging above like paths of comets. After the feast,
blood flecks the ice like constellations, and then,
stones in a round, each brother licks his sores and retreats alone.

The supernova shatters, and the whale shrinks.

Little Shoe

It shone – a world on a little satin thing
poking through the rose of wrinkled Tyvek;
a ruby to slip a lily into.

Lifting it from the case, I sit it on one cottoned palm,
fingers fanning beneath like a lark’s wing around an egg
or a teacup, stitched from sun-silk
and curving to a point slim enough to perch on
the thumb-loop of a girl
painting a sky she watched in childhood.
All her favourite garden sights;
bluebirds, tamed hoopoes, palm-swifts
in peach of blushing cheek and perching proudly
amongst trickling vines in lagoon blue.
Hosts of cloud-like lotus flowers – falling
in a white flush of doves,
swooping on the whistle-crack of wind
up from the stone floor. Scenes from before

this life of little stitches, shuffling steps on fists of flesh
in groups of golden lilies tipped with red
and held together by hands grasping sisters’ sleeves.
Tied in this amorphous knot of quiet,
each face meets another mouthing the name
inked in a bird’s nest of strokes
hidden inside her shoes.

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