To be alive is to be inside the wave, always travelling until it breaks and is gone. These poems are concerned with the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the human living world – and the exquisitely intense being of both. They possess a spare, eloquent lyricism as they explore the bliss and anguish of the voyage.
Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore’s tenth and final poetry book, was her first since The Malarkey (2012), whose title-poem won the National Poetry Competition. Her final poem, ‘Hold out your arms’, written shortly before her death and not included in the first printing of Inside the Wave, was added to all subsequent printings. Her posthumous retrospective, Counting Backwards: Poems 1975-2017 (2019), covers ten collections she published over four decades up to and including Inside the Wave.
Costa Book of the Year 2017, winner of the 2017 Costa Poetry Award
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