Recipe For Water

Recipe For Water by Gillian Clarke
Published by Carcanet Press
Published 1 January 2009
80 pages
Library book

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Using water as a contemplative device, this anthology examines themes of war, womanhood, time, and the environment. Individual poems focus on a range of topics–from the seemingly unremarkable contents of a bottle of spring water to the more global issue of rising ocean levels. Rain, drought, flood, thirst, rivers, and oceans inspire this thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between water and language.


From First Words

The alphabet of a house – air,
breath, the creak of the stair.
Downstairs the grown up’s hullabaloo
or their hush as you fall asleep…


I thought Recipe for Water was a good collection of poems but maybe not great. I enjoyed some poems and didn’t enjoy others. There are a lot of nature poems in this collection and I didn’t enjoy them as much. This is not a fault of the poet’s; they were all vivid and well-written but didn’t suit my tastes as much. I enjoyed the poems that moved away from nature and focused of people and experiences a lot more such as A T-Mail to Keats, Man in a Shower, In the Taj, Reader’s Digest Atlas of the World and Kites. This collection does contain some good poems and is well worth a read.




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