Fantastic Voyage

Amanda Dalton


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Bloodaxe Books Ltd
23 May 2024
ISBN: 9781780377117
72 pages

From the publisher

A child travels down her own oesophagus, a woman joins a search party to look for herself, one grief-stricken soul descends into a watery underworld whilst another experiences love as demonic possession…. By turns wryly humorous, tender and heartbroken, Fantastic Voyage takes us on journeys into our hidden and ghostly selves, our insides and our ‘other’, exploring the myriad ways in which the human body gives voice to unspeakable truths.

These poems put us in and alongside bodies that are ill, out of control and inhabited - our dark innards as harbingers of secrets and fears, the gut as fortune-teller and home to ghosts. The book's central long poem, Notes on Water – a meditation on water – charts a deeply personal voyage through grief and loss. Two contrasting voices attempt to navigate a devastated world as both a corporeal and visceral experience, one grounded, the other hallucinatory. In other dreamlike experiences, the poems glimpse absent bodies as apparitions, doppelgängers and hauntings, and our visible selves as beings we cannot always recognise. Readers can listen to the original BBC Radio 3 version of Notes on Water using a QR code printed in the book.

'Here is a magnificent poem of poems: a surging, truth-bound voyage that offers no easy purpose, acceptance, or ending.’ –David Morley on the pamphlet of Notes on Water, in The Poetry Review (Autumn 2022)

'Dark, funny, wise, terrifying. She is searingly matter-of-fact about the most painful recesses of the human heart… She dances round every corner with a grace that many more seasoned writers would die for’ – Jo Shapcott.

‘Dalton looks in the face of despair and tells its story with unnerving calm’ – Siân Hughes, TES.

‘She seeks out the fractured minds and lives that live in darkness and reconstructs them with tenderness and skill’ – Tracey Herd, Stand.