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The Clinic, Memory
New and Selected Poems
Elaine Feinstein

Sheep Meadow
2017 • 192 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 3/4"

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-937679-79-8

Elaine Feinstein’s poems are the harvest of a lifetime in literature. This selection, made by the author herself, gathers work from over half a century of published writing, and is completed by a section of new poems. The selection ranges from early poems of feminist rebellion and tender observation of children to elegies for the poet’s father and close friends, reflections on middle-age, the conflicts in a long marriage, and meditations on the lot of refugees. In new poems Feinstein records her treatment for cancer, her feelings of dread in the clinic and unexpected moments of ‘extravagant happiness’. The exploration of memory is at once a source of ironic amusement and an acknowledgement of human transience.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Beautiful, generous, wonderfully intense poems . . . Anyone who has ever felt comforted in grief by words, or who has lived through that tension between tenderness, longing and guilt, will recognize their precision and their truth.”—Ruth Padel

“She is an extremely fine poet. She has a sinewy, tenacious way of penetrating and exploring the core of her subject that seems to me unique. Her simple, clean language follows the track of the nerves . . . There is nothing hit-or-miss, nothing for effect, nothing false. Reading her poems, one feels cleansed and sharpened.”—Ted Hughes

“Elaine Feinstein is our great poet-storyteller, as emotionally intelligent as she is observant.”—Fiona Sampson

From the Book:


A full ginger moon hangs in the garden.
On this side of the house there are no stars.
When I go to bed, I like to soothe myself with
streetlights, lit windows and passing cars.

When my grandchild comes to sleep over
I find we share the same preference.
She doesn't want to draw the curtains either.
I like to look out on my town, my London. . .

Have you seen London from above? she asks me.
It's like a field of lights. And her grey eyes widen.
Her eight-year-old spirit is tender as blossom.
Be gentle to her now, ferocious London.

ELAINE FEINSTEIN read English at Cambridge, and lived there for a quarter of a century with her husband and three children, supervising undergraduates and writing poems, novels and plays, as well as reviews for London newspapers. She has appeared at major festivals across the world and has been translated into most European languages. In 1981 Feinstein was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and later served on its Council. In 1990 she received a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, and was given an Honorary D. Litt from the University of Leicester. Her novel Mother’s Girl was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize in the same year. Her first novel, The Circle (1970) was longlisted for the ‘lost’ Man Booker prize in 2010. Her five biographies include Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet (2001; 2016), shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Prize; and Anna of all the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova (2005), which has been translated into twelve languages, including Russian. She has served as a judge for all the major literary awards, and was Chair of the Judges for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1995. She received an Arts Council Award for her work on The Russian Jerusalem (2004).

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:50:26 -0500