Shortlisted for the Polari Book Prize, 2021
Date: 15th October 2020
Extent: 72 pp
Rosie Garland’s dauntless and enthralling new poetry collection, What Girls Do in the Dark, invites us to leap into deep space - across a universe where light, names, place and time become the “distance between things that stand like sisters”. We venture through strange night-time transformations, between northerly points and places of being and not-being. In a twilight alive with glimmering energy, we discover not just outer-space, but inner space – where the body and the self are made of infinite galaxies, illuminated for the briefest blink of a life.
Garland’s poetry is rooted in the realm of gothic imagination, mythology and the uncanny. It contains magnitudes and magic, feminist fables starstruck with science and astronomy. Like comets, these dazzling poems explore containment, liberation, near-misses, extinction, and ultimately, they ask what it means to escape the pull of gravity and blaze your own bright, all-consuming and astonishing path.
Praise for What Girls Do in the Dark:
"What girls do in the dark is shimmer, seethe, scorch - and sometimes slip their skins and come undone. Sometimes, girls are comets, foxes, stars. In these dark-bright and necessary poems, Rosie Garland leads us, gentle but firm, to the edges of the galaxy to see what is and what might be, to better see ourselves. As the poet says: Permit darkness. Find light." – Tania Hershman
“This is the best poetry book I've read in years. Rosie Garland’s What Girls Do in the Dark seduced and enchanted me. I love the strangely simple use of language that somehow continually surprised. The imagery is at times dark like a modern-day fairy story with a flavour of science or sci-fi but grounded in human frailty. I found it beguiling and poignant throughout. This collection is for everyone who loves poetry and everyone who never knew they loved poetry. By exploring the other-worldly, Garland has hit the greater truth of our day to daydreams and fears.”
– Henry Normal
“Garland has excelled herself in this collection - her poems bleed, riff and itch into each other making the book a cohesive and truly satisfying 'rock-and-rolling calligraphy of bad behaviour along the scroll of orbit'. How does she manage this with such disparate subjects as astronomy, eczema, latrines, and foxes? - and yet she does. With each poem I kept thinking "This can't get any better" - and each one did, and added to and multiplied the whole.”
– Char March
"Rosie Garland’s poetry is nothing short of magical. She opens our eyes to strange new worlds and possibilities. What Girls Do In The Dark is seductive, daring and deliciously queer. I loved it." - Paul Burston
Novelist, poet and singer with post-punk band The March Violets, Rosie Garland has a passion for language nurtured by public libraries. Her work has appeared in Under the Radar, The North, Spelk, Rialto, Butcher’s Dog, Ellipsis, New Welsh Reader, Mslexia & elsewhere. Debut novel, The Palace of Curiosities, was nominated for both The Desmond Elliott and Polari First Book Prize and Vixen was a Green Carnation Prize nominee. Latest novel The Night Brother is described by The Times as “a delight: playful and exuberant… with shades of Angela Carter.” She is inaugural writer in residence at The John Rylands Library in Manchester, and in 2019 she was selected by Val McDermid as one of the 10 most compelling LGBTQI+ writers working in the UK.
Tania Hershman’s debut collection, Terms and Conditions, urges us to consider all the possibilities, and read life’s small print before signing on the dotted line. These beautifully measured poems bring their stoical approach to the uncertain business of our daily lives – and ask us to consider what could happen if we were to bend or break the rules, step outside the boundaries and challenge the narrative.
The Nine Arches Press blog features poems from many of our poets, as well as interviews and articles.