'Dreaming of Our Better Selves' (Vanguard Editions, 2016)
In this audacious debut collection, Marion Tracy visits the dreamworld that only great artists such as William Blake, Paul Klee and Sylvia Plath have the power to access. Morbid, spectral, pantheistic—these poems are set in that dreamworld, tracing the parallel lives and altered states found there. Tracy is a master at creating mood and exploring mental flights of fancy—reach out and touch the walls of your imagination. A tour de force from a stunning new voice.
'Welcome to the strange, compelling world of Marion Tracy, a place where anything can happen, and usually does. There's a rich and vibrant imagination at play here, this is poet as conjurer and trickster, who shows you the world from an angle you never quite saw it from before: newly minted, slightly bonkers, off kilter but always fascinating, it lures you in and snares you. Formally deft and intriguing, and written in a language that is always beautifully clear, this is a collection that surprises and delights at every turn.' Neil Rollinson, author of Talking Dead
'Marion Tracy has an ability to cast a brave and fearless eye on the world around her. These are dreamy poems carefully crafted with graceful restraint but brimming with sensory detail.' Mona Arshi, author of Small Hands (winner of the Felix Dennis Prize, 2015, for Best First Collection)
'The thrill of reading Marion Tracy's poetry is her electrifying imagination. She has a highly distinctive, original voice, taking the reader on surreal journeys where stones drop from the sky and pronouns answer back. Yet every surprising metaphor here is lit with tenderness: her poems' daring perspectives are new ways to investigate deeply human concerns. Underneath their burnished surfaces are poignant pieces exploring a mother-daughter relationship fraught with the unspoken, the almost unbearable vulnerability of those who risk intimacy, the shifting boundaries between the ordinary and the astonishing. Dreaming of Our Better Selves marks the first collection of an exciting writer whose promise has already been realized. The reader emerges from its pages revitalized and moved, their eyes and heart opened.' John McCullough, author of The Frost Fairs
'Marion Tracy writes about her extreme experiences as a child struggling to make a connection with her mother, who has acute mental health issues. She challenges poetic convention, using form to represent her mother’s mental decline as she spills into an unpredictable excess of psychosis. Marion Tracy’s memories are reflective, stark and tender; a child’s imagination and a mother’s fractured mind interweaving to create imagery that metamorphasizes as quickly as you can read it. This is an other-worldly collection and a compelling read—mysterious, tragic with a twist of humour.' Sarer Scotthorne, author of The Blood House
'Marion’s style refuses to be categorised—Dreaming of Our Better Selves contains poems of great depth and sadness, but a certain amount of hilarity too. She knows how to employ a kind of deadpan surrealism that a less confident poet wouldn’t get away with, but there’s lyricism here too. There are riddles, parables and some poems feel like they may almost be jokes at the reader’s expense, rather like the "Messages way above my head / I’m not supposed to understand, like x loves y / or the word eternity traced on a beach…" (‘Pictures placed on high shelves in hospitals’). The poet’s mother is never far away—sometimes in disguise, sometimes a figure on a bed, or asleep, or in the punningly-titled ‘La Mer’ – (‘I feel a kind of guilt / that I didn’t stay closer to the sea, / as she was drowning…’). On the jacket blurb Neil Rollinson speaks of ‘a vibrant imagination … slightly bonkers, off kilter but always fascinating’ and I’d agree—a rich read. Congratulations to Marion and to Richard Skinner at Vanguard for snapping Marion up.' Robin Houghton
'Marion has developed an approach and unpredictable way with words that’s totally her. Often there’s an element of the surreal, combined with a sense that what’s she’s saying is absolutely REAL. Unflinching, even. Her poems are unpredictable shape-shifters, poems to return to, to talk about, to worry away at. You never quite know what she’s going to do next. But you know she’s on the move, alert, alive and challenging. These are poems that wake you up.' Helena Nelson, founder of Happenstance Press (You can read the full review here.)
'Marion Tracy brings to this collection is balanced by depth of experience … In the pieces I enjoyed most, emotional involvement with the subject, though often left opaque, is tempered by the intelligence that gives an accessible setting for the ideas being shaped.' Diana Reed, WriteOutLoud magazine (You can read the full review here.)
Marion Tracy has two degrees in English Literature and was a lecturer in Colleges of Further Education. She recently lived in Australia for seven years where she started writing poetry. She is widely published in magazines and previously published a pamphlet Giant in the Doorway (HappenStance Press 2012). She lives in Brighton.
pp.67 / £7 incl. p&p (please add £4 for outside the UK)
This is a limited edition of 200 copies, with the first 50 signed by the author. You can purchase a copy of Dreaming of Our Better Selves via PayPal using: email@example.com.
Alternatively, you can make a bank transfer to VANGUARD READINGS, Account Number: 21788057, Sort Code: 50-10-29. Please let me know your postal address via the Contact page.