Publication date: 2004
Published by: saltpublishing
Collection of Poetry
214 x 140 mm
Sue Hubbard, as you would hope of an art critic, pays close and sensitive attention to the appearances of things. At the same time, she has a feeling for what is going on underneath. So the world of her poems, in which phenomena are noted with great precision, seems at once stable and highly unstable. Under its exact surfaces much is fluid, shifting and uneasy. She may delight in appearances, but under all there is the trouble of an unsettled grief. ‘Loss,’ she writes, ‘goes on and on’. Her poems will never evade that that fact, but bravely, by the act of memory, and by insisting on the continuing beautify of life in the real world, they answer back.
Ghost Station is a marvellous book. Whether she is writing about art, love or memory, Sue Hubbard pays attention to the important things: the details, the incidentals, the faraway, the everyday, all the things we are inclined to neglect which make up the real fabric of our daily lives.
From its opening poem, 'Nude in a Bathtub', about the wife Pierre Bonnard painted again and again until her death, the poems in this collection repeatedly move from a powerful evocation of the intimacy of relationships to a painful sense of what it is to experience their loss. In the title poem ‘Ghost Station’, a list of lost objects – ‘a bent hair-pin lodged for years under a wooden carriage seat, a single collar-stud trapped beneath the floor’ – creates a haunting but general regret for lost lives. But a moving sequence of lyric laments about a brother who committed suicide deal powerfully and bravely and with the poet’s personal grief. This is a collection by a poet who is not afraid to employ strong emotion and who uses her visual imagination to powerful and vivid effect.
Here then is a poet who serves as an antidote to the chirpy shalllow materialism of much of our culture, one whose most apparent quality is an honesty about the difficulties of living in the early 21st century.
Martyn Crucefix, Magma
Sue Hubbard brings passionate and prophetic visions into the sphere of family life… An accomplished art-critic, Hubbard can convey the pictorial in vivid and startling language.
Peter Lawson, Jewish Chronicle - The Weekly Review
It is hard to get poems 'right' about the death of a close relative, lover, or friend; mawkishness and sentimentality are dangers as is indulgent reminiscence and nostalgia. Hubbard avoids all of these with her pared down lines and stark scene setting, ending with startling directness with a powerful acknowledge of nature's indifference to the matter of our small deaths.
Richard Dyer, Ambit
In this long awaited second collection, Sue Hubbard gathers together five major sequences which combine to form in a journey of love, loss and redemption. The central theme is an extended elegy to the poet's brother. Hubbard guides us into labyrinths of haunting emotion and dares to give utterance to our deepest concerns. Exploring both the dark and the light, she gives voice to raw emotion, to our vulnerabilities, so often concealed, and through its disclosure suggests the possibility of renewal.
Poems full of painterly, sensual detail that balance eye and ear. They tell the story of the perceived world with intense lyric accuracy yet their true power lies in describing a terrain coloured by loss yet redeemed through love and poetic observation.
Content and Texts © Sue Hubbard 2004
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