Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2022. Third Prize winner of the Laurel Prize 2022.What is still wild in us – and is it recoverable? The poems in Wilder, Jemma Borg’s second collection, are acts of excavation into the deeper and more elusive aspects of our mental and physical lives. Whether revisiting Dante’s forest of the suicides, experiencing the saturation of new motherhood or engaging in a boundary-dissolving encounter with a psychedelic cactus, these meticulous and sensuous poems demonstrate a restless intelligence, seeking out what we are losing and inviting us to ‘break ourselves each against the beauty of the other’. They call on us to remember ourselves as the animals we are, in connection with the complex web of life in what Mary Midgley called an ‘extended sympathy’, and to consider wildness as a process of becoming, reforming and growth. We do not live in a time when we can afford denial. Instead, by being willing to enter despair, might we find what Gary Snyder described as ‘the real world to which we belong’ and recover the means to save what we are destroying?
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