Naomi Morris’s debut pamphlet of poems and the winner of the 2018 Hollingworth Prize for poetry.
Earth Sign opens with the speaker inspecting a blob of jam on the ground, and ends with her watching a distant figure petting alpaca. Across this shift in time and focus, Morris is more interested in embodied experience than in recollection or reportage. Her language is warm and personal, her subjects so intimate and unexpected they sparkle.
There is something darkly humorous and bleakly glorious about the world described, filled with oversaturated scenes of floorboards that turn to bars of caramel in sunlight and strawberries fed to a lover on a beach. Morris articulates the anxieties of embodiment and the desire to cast them off, whether by eating orange Calippos, pleasuring oneself in the bath, or writing poetry. The zodiac hangs above and exerts a subtle organising force as the poems slip between the elements and the seasons in search of a way to live: at heart is a wish to choose one’s life rather than to be chosen by it.