Oh my God Sheffield why / do you always leave your coat at home?
Charlotte Ansell left Yorkshire via the North Sea to moor up on the Medway. Deluge is her third collection and was a 2019 Poetry Book Society Winter Recommendation. She’s had poetry in Poetry Review, Mslexia, Now Then, Butcher’s Dog, Prole, Algebra of Owls and various anthologies – most recently These Are The Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS. Charlotte received a Royal Society of Literature Award in 2020, and is a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.
I found Charlotte through the majesty of Butcher’s Dog Magazine and Deluge, at least for me, is the poetic equivalent of discovering that I have found someone who appears to write in the same pitch and range as I do. I’m concerned this is as fangirly as I’ve come this month, too, but HEY. I fucking love this collection /shrug
Lessons from the Text
The thing about Deluge is twofold: it’s a cinematic, massive canvas in which there are countless scenes of photographic, historic brilliance, and yet within the pages lurks the real sense of terror, panic and loss that will not leave you, creeps back into your brain long after certain poems have been read. My love for this collection is tethered to many poems, but it is What You Learned in Therapy which resonates so keenly, for reasons that remain hugely personal.
This collection is sensibly divided into sections, and it is within these blank dividers that the most fulfilling work appears. I defy anyone who has had kids to readthe sequence entitled Jumping Puddles without emerging changed. The sequence Drained has been one I have been returning to for some time, because in a way it feels like looking back on portions of my own life, with Charlotte’s narrative playing the part of me. That’s how it feels to live in this collection.
Of everything I have read this month, I think this collection is one of the most easily accessible, well-written… but, more importantly, this is a beautifully didactic piece of work. It teaches as easily as it entertains, and that is no mean feat in poetry. Take it from someone who is trying to learn that craft themselves at present. It seems so deceptively simple on the page, but reality is considerably harder.
Will you read it again? I am reading it on a regular basis. Back this goes to the bedside cabinet once Sealey is done. That pile is bigger too now than when it started…
Would you recommend it for me to read? Absolutely please do. There is genuinely something in this collection for everybody.