Short-Listed For The Felix Dennis Best First Collection Prize (Forward Prizes For Poetry 2007) In Galatea, her first collection, Challenger casts a poet's sensitive eye across the hours of a tumultuous century to create startling poems whose voice - resolute, compassionate, original - both celebrates and mourns the tensions of human nature. The name Galatea itself refers to the female figure in Greek myth sculpted from stone by the hands of Pygmalion. Becoming enamoured of the statue, Pygmalion asks of the gods that they might turn her to flesh. Drawing her themes from this central story, Challenger portrays her subjects in trembling poise between action and inaction, consummation and defeat. A series of little epiphanies, the poems are witness to the uncovering of a mediaeval woman's body in earth churned by the boots of soldiers at war, a sea of five hundred naked bodies marching across the urban horizon of a city, the transplanting of a titanium heart in the folds of an unknown individual's chest. Whatever her centre of attention, Challenger transforms the singularity of her subject into a universal experience with a deliberately harsh lyricism much her own.
The result is a series of lyrics - unsettling and otherwordly - whose searches for grace reveal a dark humour and intense compassion for all the reaches of human nature.
Buy Galatea book by Melanie Challenger from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(216mm x 140mm x 4mm)
Publisher: Salt Publishing
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Author Biography - Melanie Challenger
Melanie Challenger's first collection of poems, Galatea (Salt Publishing: 2006), received the Society of Authors' Eric Gregory Award and nomination for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. She is Creative Fellow at the Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity at University College London, and Associate Artist at Cambridge University's Institute of Astronomy. She lives in the Scottish highlands.