Fleur Adcock was born in New Zealand in 1934. She emigrated to Britain in 1963, working as a librarian in London until 1979. In 1977-78 she was writer-in-residence at Charlotte Mason College of Education, Ambleside. She was Northern Arts Literary Fellow in 1979-81, living in Newcastle, becoming a freelance writer after her return to London. She received an OBE in 1996, and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006 for Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe, 2000). (Author photo by Caroline Forbes)
Fleur Adcock’s title refers to the transparent, glittering wings of some of the species – bees, mosquitoes, dragonflies – celebrated or lamented in a sequence of poems on encounters with arthropods, from the stick insects and crayfish of her native New Zealand to the clothes' moths that infest her London house. There is an elegy for the once abundant caterpillars of her English childhood, while other sections of the book include elegies for human beings and poems based on family wills from the 16th to the 20th centuries, as well as birthday greetings for old friends and for a new great-grandson.
"Informality and immediacy are vivid ways to remake a world; and Adcock's style has not dated in the half-century since her debut."
—Fiona Sampson, Guardian
Bloodaxe Books / DuFour Editions