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Of Mutability, By Jo Shapcott

Simple and magical verses on conflicts and contrasts

Jo Shapcott is both accessible and obscure, practical and cerebral, in her poetic practice, and this is reflected in her choice of subject matter: life and death, nature and technology, bodies and ideas.

"The Deaths" is a superbly simple poem about the stories we might tell ourselves about our own mortality. It comes as both a shock and a comfort. In "St Bride's", we are reminded of the suffering that war brings to a place – a place just like the one we live in, except far, far away. It's as much out of this duality or conflict as it is from the simple but magical words she uses, that much of the drama of Shapcott's poems is derived.