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Sarajevo Roses

Waterman, Rory
Format: Paperback
Published: September 28, 2017
ISBN: 9781784104085
64 pages


Shortlisted for the 2019 Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections. Sarajevo Roses is Rory Waterman’s second collection of poems. From the start we are in the company of a poet on the move.

On sleeper trains, in cars and on foot, Waterman takes us into Mediterranean Europe, to Palma’s Bellver Castle, to Venice, to Kruje, to the Italian ghost-town Craco, and to St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, where `selfie-sticks dance before us at the altar’. Sarajevo’s `neatened muddle of terracotta and concrete’ is twinned with the `church spires and rain-bright roofs’ of the poet’s former hometown, Lincoln. The Sarajevo rose of the book’s title – a mortar crater filled with red resin, in remembrance – is less an overarching symbol here than one example of the past inscribed upon the present – culturally in our architecture, individually on our bodies – and of the instinct to preserve wounds as a mark of respect, or warning.

Surrounded by the war-shaped, memorial landscapes of Europe, the poet is faced by those smaller wars and memorials one carries within, marks left by lovers, friends, relations, and past selves.

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