A Saving Bannister
At once poignant and luminous. These intimate poems (about families, journeys, and the burial of dogs) have a certain clarity that reaches into the heart. – Julia Martin
A Saving Bannister
Across the abyss a bannister goes, a railing on a ledge over sullen darkness, leading its intermediaries to stairs up and down, rooms that begin and do not end, halls of light (but rarely glory), alcoves peopled by rain spiders and slow breathing. So begins Wendy Woodward’s third volume of poetry , a journey into vulnerability and grace, across terrains inhabited by dogs, minotaurs and leviathans, by puppets and a failed Icarus. Stories are teased from the ears of donkeys and the pit-pits of an oyster catcher, from a cupboard in the Amatholas to a monastery in Sikkim–all held behind the saving bannister of her poetry.
Wendy Woodward’s poetry has appeared in The English Academy Review, New Letters, Carapace, New Contrast, The Australian Animal Studies Journal and in a number of anthologies. She has participated in a number of poetry events, readings and festivals, most recently at the McGregor Poetry Festival (2013 and 2014). A Saving Bannister is her third collection of poetry. Professor Wendy Woodward teaches Southern African Literature, Animal Studies and Creative Writing (poetry) in the English Department at the University of the Western Cape. Her first two collections of poetry are: Séance for the Body (Snailpress, 1994) and Love, Hades and other Animals (Protea, 2008).
‘These beautiful poems, with their pellucid, stripped-down language, deep insights and the affinity they evince with animals both tame and wild, deserve the widest possible audience. Wendy Woodward is a South African Szymborska.’
‘Woodward’s poems are wise, beautiful cracks of thunder. They nourish hearts parched by the noise of modern life. They have the power to awaken us to ourselves and a natural world that teeters on a dangerous precipice. These are poems that can save lives.’
‘At once poignant and luminous. These intimate poems (about families, journeys, and the burial of dogs) have a certain clarity that reaches into the heart.’