Ellen Cranitch


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Bloodaxe Books Ltd
25 April 2024
ISBN: 9781780376974
96 pages

From the publisher

Crystal traces the arc of one woman’s experience after the discovery that her partner is addicted to crystal meth. In a highly original poetic act of reclamation, it plunders the drug itself and makes of it an overarching conceit to articulate the devastating impact of living with a loved one who is utterly changed. Deeply felt, tirelessly inventive, this collection gives voice to addiction’s explosive effect within a family. At the same time it speaks universally and with urgency of the power of poetry to take one through the darkest of times.

Crystal is Ellen Cranitch's second collection, following The Immortalist (Templar Press), which was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize for Best Collection 2018.

'What impresses most about Ellen Cranitch's courageous second collection, Crystal, on the subject of her husband's addition to crystal meth and its devastations, is her steady rigour in not compromising, not ranting or taking flight [...] There is, throughout, a – crystal – clarity.' – Kate Kellaway, The Observer (Poetry book of the month)

‘Utterly mesmerising. An intensely rewarding and spine-tingling experience. What pain underlies it is mitigated by so much love, rescue, hope and triumph. Only a real poet can take one from a walk with Cavafy amongst the stones of the Acropolis to the misery of Heston motorway services; from Colombian emerald mines to communing with T.S. Eliot’s ashes in East Coker… Cranitch takes the resources of landscape, science, philosophy, mythology and of course poetry and uses them not just to meditate on the cruel, sordid, terrifying and humiliating truths of addiction, but to do something more than meditate – to understand, to resolve and to transform. This is what poetry at its best and truest can do. A wonderful achievement.’ – Stephen Fry

‘Tender and profound…honest and brave…propelled by a faith in the humane, in the redemptive possibilities of love… Crystal…adds to that library that attests to the human spirit’s ability to witness and endure and, sometimes at least, come out singing.’ – Hisham Matar, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Return