Sea Song

Angela Leighton

Sewer and salve, dredge and dump, kitten and killer,sea, our element, lovely other, soul and matter,intricate jeweller of caves and corals, molluscs and pearls,salty original, mirror of weather, flood of tears.Sea, our crossing, launch and offing, lift and tease,as if a loop of dolphins took us, deeper to breathe,darker to see, further to hear — from dream to after,through flesh, fish, shell, krill, to the first life-matter.

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This is the ‘launch’ poem of Angela Leighton’s fifth collection, One, Two (Carcanet, January 2021). It opens a volume, both formal and free, of memories and elegies, dreams and translations, quirky tributes to the natural world and anguished lyrics about breath and breathlessness in times of plague.

In addition to critical books about poetry from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, most recently Hearing Things: The Work of Sound in Literature (2018), she has published short stories, translations, and four other volumes of verse with Shoestring and Carcanet Presses. Her half-Italian background takes her south when possible; her university work keeps her sane when poetry won’t play.

"Its lasting impression is a renewed awareness of poetry's manifold reach."
—The Times Literary Supplement

"Outstanding among the excellent ... the poems ring like bells."
—Anne Stevenson

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