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Destroyed Dresses
Cara Brennan
Click cover to enlarge
A Read Regional Choice for 2014.

‘The October sun breeds cataracts, the breeze freezes my
bones. /  My neck is wool-deep in check; it’s hard to text
with mittens on.’  So begins the first solo publication of Cara
Brennan’s exemplary poetry, one of the most talked-about
pamphlets of 2012.

Destroyed Dresses showcases the finest 17 poems created by
the young writer to date; ordered chronologically to aid the
sense of a poet 'coming of age', in life and in literature. As
suggested by the iconic cover design (conceived by the
author), the poems have both vintage charm and
contemporary edge; as well as their own peculiar drama.
They provide ample evidence of the unique attitude and skill
which has won Cara national acclaim, and make Destroyed
Dresses an essential (and economical) poetry purchase.
Praise for Destroyed Dresses:

‘In their dealings with things left unsaid, Cara Brennan’s
poems can be eerily atmospheric and unsettling, as though
written from a world next door to the everyday. Destroyed
Dresses is an intriguing and promising start.’
– Sean O'Brien

‘Cara Brennan's first pamphlet moves with a passionate but
precise gaze between memory and presence. Always alert
to tiny details, both physical and emotional, she fixes on
those imperfections that evoke perfectly her chilly
landscapes and tender interiors. The image of the dress
recurs - designed, worn, shed, recycled - a metaphor for
her precise craft as well as a symbol of the heart's journey
through these nimble and compelling poems.
– W.N. Herbert

‘Poised and clear-spoken, these poems capture the fleeting moment. Brennan details human warmth, ever alive to
the wider world's chill. Her imagery shimmers, her tone is
urgent.’ – Christy Ducker
'The morning is a hot drink
in a cold glass, the nights
are drawing in.'
About the Author
Edition: Paperback
Published: 21st September 2012
ISBN: 9781908853073
Catalogue number: VP0037
Number of pages: 26
Category: Poetry

Cover design by Jamie McGarry
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Cara Brennan was born in
Harrogate, North Yorkshire,
in 1990, and currently lives
in Newcastle. She is a proud
graduate of... (read more)
Sample poems


We’re at the top of The White Horse
looking for an edge to scatter Gamphy’s ashes.
Beyond the cinder track and brittle fence
stands an airfield
where gliders impersonate curlews;
the wind will give them flight.

I am fearful.
My hair is plaited,
held with an orange bobble,
covered with scratchy fabric,
lace, a silk bow, pearls.
A gust may take it from me.

Spring Bank

The bus heaves past and in this autumn light
my shadow is a rabbit on a hook.

I follow it to Sandyford Racetrack.
I am looking for rats, in undergrowth.
They are fur-shakers, stirring
as the air moves other things; feathers,
broken umbrellas, plastic cups.

Paper leaves punctuate the hedge;
I remember the walk
back from town last week.
Four in the morning
a window lit in the tower block,
squares of confetti fell ahead of us.
The Daily Sport illuminated by street lamps,
flung from up high, a flock of bold
tabloid sequins.

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Cara Brennan
Destroyed Dresses