Publication Date: 4th May 2016
‘Bird Sisters exerts a powerful hold, as if to read it is to be haunted by things one half-remembers.’ – Moniza Alvi
‘All is strange or estranged in fact,but it is articulated in poems of supple inventive concentration. In that sense Bird Sisters is a book that casts deep shadows.’ – George Szirtes
Julia Webb’s Bird Sisters is a surreal journey through sisterhood and the world of the family via the natural world. Fascinated by the ‘otherness’ of things, her poems expose places and relationships that are not always entirely comfortable places to exist. Many of them feature transformations of some kind – both real and metaphorical: a woman wears a dress of live bees or becomes a bird and family members turn into owls and sparrows.
In exploring the ways in which both adults and children are casually cruel to one another, often within a mythological framework, Julia Webb blurs the boundaries between fairy tale and reality. These families are terrifying in their complexity and dysfunction, yet utterly compelling and convincing and with dark undercurrents of humour that ensure the poems are never bleak.