'Completely original, both very funny and existentially bleak. No-one else is writing poems remotely like these'. Magma
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About Lorraine Mariner
Lorraine Mariner grew up in Upminster and attended Huddersfield University, where she read English, and University College London, where she read Library and Information Studies. She lives in London and works as an Assistant Librarian at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre. Her pamphlet Bye For Now was published by The Rialto in 2005, and in 2007 a poem published in The Rialto magazine ‘Thursday’ (an account of the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her collection Furniture was published by Picador in 2009 and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize. Her second collection There Will Be No More Nonsense was published by Picador in 2014.
Mariner’s uniquely witty, generous, melancholy, memorable poems have won the praise of reviewers and readers alike. While tending to be drawn to the minutiae of the everyday, the hallmark of Mariner’s poetry is the way it manages to uncover intimate details and insights in the terrains of an unpromising urban normality that are at once recognisable and sharply surprising. Her poems locate an extra dimension in seemingly mundane parts of reality: an imagining of the life of a toll booth attendant has them hearing a snatch of music from a car ‘so beautiful / that your soul / begins to lift // then it’s gone / foot down / crossing the river’, while a reminiscence about an imaginary boyfriend, ‘Stanley’ (‘nothing in our relationship has ever surprised me’) is at first hilarious, then unexpectedly moving. Moments that are at once familiar and from elsewhere – a garden flashing past, the ‘quality thud’ of a hardback – arrive reliably in Mariner’s poems, but each seems to be a completely new discovery. Her readings are casual, quiet, funny, offbeat, almost deadpan; but to call these poems merely ‘quirky’ (perhaps the kneejerk adverb) would be to do them a disservice – the work is too aware of the bleakness of its backdrops, the odds stacked against the small, humane occurrences of life, which makes their determined preserving of those occurrences an all the more remarkable achievement.
Lorraine Mariner’s favourite poetry quotation:
I have this quote by George Brecht above my desk, he’s known primarily as a conceptual artist but we have some of his poetry books in the Poetry Library:
“There is so little to do and so much time to do it in.” – George Brecht
This recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 25 March 2014 at Soundhouse and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.
Poems by Lorraine Mariner
Toll booth attendant - Lorraine Mariner
Say I forgot - Lorraine Mariner
Bye for now - Lorraine Mariner
Featured in the Archive
Books by Lorraine Mariner
Bye For Now
The Rialto, 2005
There Will Be No More Nonsense
shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem - 'Thursday'
'Furniture' shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection
'Furniture' shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize