Blood Child

BookBlood Child

Blood Child

Pavilion Poetry


April 13th, 2015

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In her third full-length collection 'Blood Child', Eleanor Rees hones and extends her startling use of language and imagery to enact the many aspects of change – fleeting, elusive or moored in a negotiation of the material world as she roams through the landscapes of self and city. The idea of generation is explored in all its possibilities, the ‘child’ and the ‘girl’ are recurrent motifs, immanent and on the threshold of a magical or imaginative transformation. Landscapes are crossed, swum, burrowed under or flown above; skins and edges are sheared or lost, new coverings found and remade. Rees’s poems ask how new routes can be forged across shifting terrain and she offers the emergent space of the imagination as the only answer.

'These are shape-shifting poems from a shape-shifting poet, who listens to what the place has to say and always keeps her feet on the ground.'
Paul Kingsnorth

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Eleanor Rees’s debut collection offers up a heartfelt hymn to her native Liverpool. Her dense, textured renderings of its landscapes are eloquent, but it is her importunate, ambiguous relationship with the city that provides these poems with their drive.'
Sarah Crown, The Guardian

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: '… incantatory, spell-like, trance-inducing – poetry as magical utterance to which you have to submit, make a willing suspension of disbelief …'
Matt Simpson, Stride Magazine

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: '… an ambitious, experimental voice vibrantly charged with the energy of city life.'
Carol Ann Duffy

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Here is a poetry that relishes the chaotic and magical; trees and plants abandon gardens and start to move down the street, humans give birth to animals, houses come alive. Eleanor Rees’s language is sensuous, unpredictable. The materials of folktale and border ballad are never far away.'
Charles Bainbridge, The Guardian

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Rees comes close to describing the nature of her vision when she writes ‘marrow is all my thinking // as thinking is tired and broken / has no cohesion … thinking thinks too much of itself’. As ‘marrow’ suggests, the core of experience is deep and hidden, and in the romantic-expressionist tradition it is this deep apprehension, not the processes of conscious thought, that most compel her … lusciously, swooningly female in the restless, mobile eroticism that flows throughout the book … The expressionist character of Rees’ work is bold and demanding. She offers nothing that is cheaply mimetic or demotic.'
Jeffrey Wainwright, PN Review

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Eleanor Rees’s poetry is strikingly pleasing, its distinctive rhythms as insidious as water.'
Alison Brackenbury, PN Review

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'I love the meaty, muscularity of the poems ... I caught the boat to Ireland from Liverpool recently and found myself remembering big chunks of the river poem as we chugged past the harbour bar.' Frank Cottrell Boyce

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Rees’s work is completely deserving of its shortlist position, even more so for a voice outside the mainstream.'
Ross Sutherland, Metro

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'Eleanor Rees comes from ‘over the water’, and her poems seem to issue from a lyric country where they do things differently. Instinctive, elemental and ready for anything they twist and coil marvellously between inner and outer worlds, never resting for long in either, always beguiling or unsettling the reader …'
Paul Farley

On Eleanor Rees's previous work: 'This is a strongly contemporary voice, but always on the edge of myth, dream, fairy-tale. The title sequence is remarkable: a sustained piece of dramatic-poetic writing, a tour-de-force.'
Michael Symmons Roberts

'There is a sensuality in Rees's poetry; sensations are beautifully and seductively illustrated. There is also a sense of movement in the work; she takes you on a narrative journey paved by her mastery of words.'
Dundee University Review of the Arts

'Rees asserts unarguable truths that stretch beyond the usual socio-historic contexts we like to create in order to locate ourselves as readers.'
Nicky Arscott, Poetry Wales


'Together, Blood Child and Riverine convey seductively cross-fading time-scapes; it is in the end this quality that makes these remarkable poems linger in the memory, unsettling and disquieting, redefining so-called realities. Dark, visceral, her use of language and image is controlled and concentrated, and through it the message is one of connection. World and human personality are intimately woven together; we are not observers of the game but part of it, belonging to the continuum. It comes down to time, the context through which we move; past and present occupy the same space within Rees’s theory of relativity, and chronology for her is measured both in every day and cosmic terms, just as local and universal, yesterday, today and tomorrow brush against one another, with us –rushing but static– in their midst.'
Sean Street, Tears in the Fence

‘Eleanor Rees does with language what an origami master does with paper or a contortionist their own limbs: she teases and manipulates it into wondrous, strange, and alluring shapes. It's been several years since I've read work this stimulating, the engagement with which offering such profound peace and pleasure and such resonant rewards.’
Niall Griffiths

'These poems are an exquisite unearthing of meaning in nature. They trace metamorphosis, find mind in everything, and suggest not so much what things look like to humans but what they feel like to themselves.'
Jayne Griffiths

'The messages Rees’ poems deliver are difficult to transcribe prosaically, moving as they do in a densely fairy-tale or dream-logical atmosphere. This aspect of her work is hugely effective, creating a lush dreamscape full of mud, sludge, mulch and other fecundities, populated by eerie running children, unreliable parents, poet-birds and their panoramic perspectives. [...] The poems in Blood Child show an astute, painterly eye and a flair for outlandish and surprising detail. [...] Blood Child [is an] engaging, imaginative text that demonstrates a great love and respect for its folkloric sources, and [is] a thought-provoking read.'Dave Coates, The York Review

'This is a short collection of 19 poems but the author and publishers should be applauded for having a collection that does not fit the poem a page routine. [...] In this third collection we can read the substantial creativity of Eleanor Rees and her melding of history, nature and emotion and the skill in developing a ‘oneness’ from a multitude of ideas. Foremost in her writing is the use of changing forms, transmogrifying, as it were into different species whilst in full flow which offers both continuation and further development of style as well as theme. There is also the touching on the darker recesses of the unconscious mind, not a digging, more a small bore-hole into Pandora’s Box.'J. Johnson Smith, poetryparc

Author Information

Eleanor Rees is the author of 'Andraste’s Hair' (Salt, 2007), shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards, and 'Eliza and the Bear' (Salt, 2009). She often collaborates with other writers, musicians and artists, and works to commission. Eleanor has worked extensively as a local poet in the community. She lives in Liverpool.