The Air Year by Caroline Bird

The Air Year by Caroline Bird

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Winner of the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2020. A Telegraph Poetry Book of the Month (February 2020). A Telegraph Book of the Year 2020. A Guardian Book of the Year 2020.

The Air Year is a time of flight, transition and suspension: the shrill air as you fall through love, before crash, comedown - commitment. The poet crosses challenging thresholds, fear of commitment, of motherhood, shame and panic. 'I am proficient at beginnings,' Caroline Bird says.

This book goes further and (with her characteristic energy and exuberance) risks the next level. People run on treadmills facing blue walls, burn talismans in their gardens, mime marriage with invisible wedding rings. Pilots bung bullet-holes with chewing gum. We cling on, to rickety rope-bridges, to something in the air, to one another. Bird's speakers exist in a state of suspension, trapped in liminal space between take-off and landing, a time of pure transition.

Love is uncontrollable, joy comes and goes at hurricane speed. They walk to the cliff-edge, close their eyes and step out into the air.

Caroline Bird has five previous collections published by Carcanet. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award.

Paperback / 64 pages