skindancing (Cinnamon Press, 2015) is Susan’s new collection, themed around human-animal metamorphosis and both our intimacy with, and alienation from, the wild and our animal selves. Its sources of inspiration include shapeshifting tales from a number of different cultures, from Inuit to Celtic, Native American to Norse, as well as Susan’s ongoing engagement with shamanic journeying. As with Susan’s previous collection, Where the Air is Rarefied, it features illustrations by visual artist Pat Gregory, who also created the mesmerising cover.
Pre-publication endorsements of skindancing:
She writes in prehensile language, capable of grasping something vast, ancient, chthonic: the Earth in must. Jay Griffiths, author of Wild
Susan Richardson’s skindancing is a wonderfully provocative collection of poetry and prose-poems where Pat Gregory’s illustrations mirror the complexity of the written text. It is in turns beautiful, funny, angry and sad but it is always thoughtful. It speaks to the blurring of boundaries between the human and more-than-human; of our shared corporeality and vulnerability. It reminds us that humanity is embedded within an organic, natural world such that our fate is intertwined with all those others who share this planet. Dr. Mary Phillips, University of Bristol
Susan Richardson is a national treasure. When I read her poetry all of my senses come alive. There are few literary pleasures greater than reading her ageless poems. One of these is watching her perform them. Jonathan Balcombe, author of The Exultant Ark
The energy of unsuspected change pulses through these poems. The transformations are neither symbolic nor sentimental – they are rooted in the toughness of the more-than-human body of the world, where ‘a beak slashes open the belly of sleep.’ Bodies unexpectedly erupt and shift their allegiance as skin pads and thickens, quills with stiff feathers, or a ‘sickle fin’ suddenly breaches the spine. Richardson’s voice swoops – passionate, ribald, funny, fierce – taking you up, on exhilarating flight, out from the cage of the everyday mind. Eleanor O’Hanlon, author of Eyes of the Wild
This sparkling collection of poetry comes out of the mouths of animals, and of those individuals who dance from skin to skin, knowing that humans are also animal. The poems are full of hope, because they show that our affinity with other human beings doesn’t just belong in a lost golden age, but is part of who we are today. Lion Man speaks to the woman in the museum with her mobile phone, just as he did to the palaeolithic tribeswomen who carved him on a mammoth task. Time is collapsed in this project of knowing who we are. Sometimes even the words on the page disappear into roars and snufflings. The witch speaks for all writers and readers who properly enter into this skinchanging game: “I, too, am changed”. Margaret Elphinstone, novelist
To order a copy of skindancing (£9.99, plus £1.50 p&p), please either use the Paypal button below or contact Susan. If you’d like it signed, and/or to have a dedication, please say so!