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Emily Critchley – This Is Not A True Thing


Published 2013, Paperback. ISBN 9781291388787

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‘This Is Not A True Thing’ is a sequence of poems and paintings.

At the centre of the writing is narrative, submerged in a fizzy fluid of multifaceted obstructions and luminous hiccups, but recurrently emerging through gaps and sometimes launching into sustained eloquence. Important, pressing narrative which urges the whole thing forward through every pitfall and barrier. We are thrown back on our own memories: the reader hops skips and leaps along the text and is constantly questioned, impelled by the augmenting sense that it matters, that the voice gargling itself into all these jumps and displacement is urgent and behaves like this because it is urgent, also because there is a constant duty owed to the contrary, and the ridge between intimate/personal and cultural/political is not tolerated for a second. Richness of linguistic resource is so calibrated at speed that the metaphor and the fact converge and nag each other in flight (il duello amoroso). The literary pastoral (nothing to do with “nature”) is a dainty mesh which constantly lightens the journey and entraps the foot, a kind of authorial charade, a constant self interruption creating gaps for the emergence of love through the necessary defiance, an archaeological back-sight, and a green sieve through which the necessary transmissions are rushed in shreds, as the voice strives for home through a tangle of hyperactive gardenage. And how it all pursues itself, and increasingly emerges into the light, into closing bids for clarity without reduction, the elegant and unmannered heart-tone of the vindicated voice.

So it is all quite a coloratura business, and there are also pictures of blue and white flows with holes in them, and sometimes knots of blood forming in the restless sea.

Peter Riley

Emily Critchley holds a PhD in contemporary, American, women’s poetry and philosophy from the University of Cambridge. She is the author of several critical articles – on poetry, philosophy and feminism – and several poetry publications. Her Selected Writing, ‘Love / All That / & OK’, was published by Penned in the Margins in 2011. In 2004 she won the John Kinsella – Tracy Ryan prize for poetry, at the University of Cambridge, and in 2011 was joint winner of the Jane Martin Prize for Poetry. Critchley teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich, London.

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