The evolution of Margaret Atwood's poetry illuminates a major literary talent. Through bus trips and postcards, wilderness and trivia, she reflects the passion and energy of a writer intensely engaged with her craft and the world. In this volume, two previous selections, Poems 1965-1975 and Poems 1976-1986 are presented together with Morning in the Burned House. 'Detached, ironic, loving by turns ...poems that sing off the page and sting' Michele Roberts
'Atwood is the quiet Mata Hari, the mysterious, violent figure ... who pits herself against the ordered too-clean world like an arsonist' Michael Ondaatje 'An acute and poetic observer of the eternal, universal rum relations between women and men' THE TIMES 'Detached, ironic... poems that sing off the page and sting' Michele Roberts 'Lean, symbolic, thoroughly Atwoodesque prose honed into elegant columns...' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY 'In "Against Still Life", a poem from her 1966 collection, The Circle Game, the speaker exclaims: "I'd crack your skull / like a walnut, split it like a pumpkin / to make you talk, or get / a look inside". This urgent desire to excavate experience, to break through surfaces and dish up the truth, governs much of Atwood's work. In times of conflict she refuses to turn away ("I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical / toys, my body / is a deadly gadget, / I reach out in love, my hands are guns / my good intentions are completely lethal"). On the subject of mistreatment she won't back off ("the iguana / in the pet shop window on St Catherine Street / crested, royal-eyed, ruling / its kingdom of water-dish and sawdust..."). And with in-your-face fury she approaches "love / like a biologist / pulling on my rubber / gloves & white labcoat," ever-insisting "I'm not the sea, I'm not pure blue, / I don't have to take / anything you throw into me." But this drive to push, with arrestingly beautiful imagery, the limits of what we see and in turn believe, is only the half of it. What draws us in, what keeps us enthralled, is her intoxicatingly flawless sense of rhythm and cadence. Under Atwood's grip, though "it's all about sex and territory," though "the windchill factor hits / thirty below, and pollution pours / out of our chimneys to keep us warm," there is always just enough room for a bit of optimism, "to / admit the cancer cell is beautiful ... with its mauve center and pink petals," to remind us "the river's been here, violent, right where we're standing / [but] now it's a trickle, and we're up to our knees / in late-spring yellowing weeds."' - Martha Silano, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW
Margaret Atwood's novel, ALIAS GRACE, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1996. She has written many novels, including the prize-winning THE HANDMAID'S TALE, which was also a successful film. In 2000 she won the Booker Prize for her novel The Blind Assassin.