Paperback, 210 x 138mm
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.
Adcock writes about men and women, childhood, identity, roots and rootlessness, memory and loss, animals and dreams, as well as our interactions with nature and place. Her poised, ironic poems are remarkable for their wry wit, conversational tone and psychological insight, unmasking the deceptions of love or unravelling family lives.
Born in Auckland in 1934, Fleur Adcock is a New Zealand poet, editor and translator who resides in Britain. She has published many collections of poems, most recently Glass Wings (2013), The Land Ballot (2014) and Hoard (2017). Her awards include the 1961 Festival of Wellington Poetry Award, the Jessie Mackay Prize in 1968 and 1972, the Buckland Award in 1968 and 1979, the New Zealand National Book Award in 1984, an OBE in 1986, the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2006, and a CNZM for services to literature in 2008.