Blueprints for a Minefield by Shauna Robertson (Fair Acre Press)
Heroes by Christy Ducker (Smith Doorstop)
The Swell by Jess Mookherjee (Telltale Press)
Delicious by Padraig Regan (Lifeboat Press)
I asked Carrie Etter a few questions about this module and her choices:
Can you tell me a bit about this module?
This is a module for third-year poets that is the equivalent of a dissertation. By year’s end, they’ll have composed and physically produced their own pamphlets and present them at a public reading.
Can you tell me why you chose these four poetry pamphlets?
I look for pamphlets published in the last year, require them all to be from different publishers and cost no more than £5 each, and look for a variety of writing styles and themes. Quality counts, too, but it’s not the only criterion.
What do you like about Blueprints for a Minefield?
I like its inventiveness and humour—as did some of the students on the module!
Do you teach other modules?
I coordinate all the undergraduate poetry modules at Bath Spa, with the exception of performance poetry. I also give some of the lectures in the first-year poetry module and sometimes teach the second-year module I designed, Sudden Prose: Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry. I also organize the first year event series, which runs weekly through the academic year.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my fourth collection, The Weather in Normal, bringing together my first home of Illinois, family history, weather and climate change.
About Carrie Etter
Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter has lived in England since 2001 and taught creative writing at Bath Spa University since 2004. She has published three collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Prize, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011) and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Additionally, she edited the anthology Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010) and the late Linda Lamus’s A Crater the Size of Calcutta (Mulfran, 2015). She also publishes short stories, reviews, poetry pamphlets and the occasional essay. Her most recent pamphlets, both out this year, are a collection of flash fictions called Hometown (V Press) and a long poem about the effects of climate change on Illinois, Scar (Shearsman) .
I read Imagined Sons in 2014 and was astonished at its concept, and creativity. The emotions it evoked have stayed with me. Published by Seren, all its poems are about one mother – and show how the experience of giving up her child for adoption has affected her.
Actually, when I was in my early twenties I had a friend who died tragically in a collision with a nuclear convoy. For years after I would think I’d seen him – always in his green barbour jacket – even in the sweltering heat of Bangkok! So I, and I’m sure most people, will recognize the theme of the book… this imagining… But in this case the woman doesn’t even know what her son might look like.
Imagined Sons is an extraordinary evocation of loss and a demonstration on a very human level of how a hole in one’s life cannot be filled, ever – but it is also very funny and breathtakingly imaginative. I recommend it! Nadia x