The Blue Den

Praise for The Blue Den (Bloodaxe Books, 2012)

‘Norgate shuns full-blown epiphany in favour of a quiet, patient unveiling of the world that invites a way of seeing, a way of thinking. These poems with their observational insistence, are charged with a phenomenological inquiry.’ Julian Stannard, Poetry Review, Vol. 103: 3 Autumn 2013

‘This is Norgate’s second collection from Bloodaxe and it draws from many places, close and far away—from Portsmouth and Washington, from Birling Gap and New England, a windowsill, caravan and a shed. Her writing is expansive and generous. The first person takes second place to other voices, reflecting perhaps her work for the stage and radio. Indeed, she nominates five of the poems in The Blue Den—a stream talking to ice, a tidal road to a traveller, ant to sky, flints at Birling Gap and a fallen house to a final owner. …Much of Norgate’s work lives in detailed description and in the moment, suggesting deeper stories. But she’s funny too, and looser perhaps when she accents the ludicrous. Take ‘Health and Safety Stops the Raft’—a page-long list that needs nothing more than a litany of constituent parts to earn its place, and on the following page, ‘Against bullet points’, which should come free with PowerPoint. So Norgate’s a versatile poet, and in the title poem shows the depth of her lyricism…’ Jackie Wills, The Warwick Review, Vol. VI No.4 December 2012

The Blue Den is Stephanie Norgate’s second collection. Playwright as well as poet, Norgate shapes her poems through both speech and story-telling. Stream to Ice, one of a group titled ‘Other Voices’, was recorded by actors, then broadcast as a sound installation….In fourteen utterly convincing lines the stream ‘has frozen into a splay of ice flowers, swollen’. …This is a collection packed with rewarding poetry to be read and re-read with new gems to uncover each time.’ Wendy Klein, Artemis Issue 10, May 2013.

‘Stephanie Norgate’s collection, The Blue Den, is a thoughtful study of the people and things which inhabit the edges of the conventional society. The poems are so well constructed that the reader becomes enmeshed in narratives that demand continual attention, even when the verses take a turn towards the viscerally violent, which they do often…It is safe to say that the poems in this book will not fade quickly in your memory. This is Norgate’s second full collection; it is worth a deep read, a long contemplation.’Bethany W. Pope Magma Blog Review 20, March 2013.

‘Norgate always observes closely and uses form as both a prompt and a welcome dissonance-the ungrammatical, slant-rhymes of the ‘memory of the heart’ are particularly impressive…As the heart speaks back to the mind // moving you, you who would sit static for hours.’ To perceive is to get moving, to connect onward.’ Vidyan Ravinthiran, Poetry London, Summer 2013

‘Here Norgate expresses herself in visual, sensuous and imaginative ways, whether she is giving voice to a stream under ice or meditating on Giacometti working restlessly on the figure of a strange walker…’ Balliol College Record, Issue No. 19, May 2013