Red Tree by Daniela Nunnari
Click cover image to enlarge, or here to view the Kindle exclusive cover, edited by Ben Warden. Illustration by Colin Cross.
'I want to place my hand
on the side of your face
and let you lean on it.'
VP0027 // Published: 27th April 2012
Red Tree is the kind of book Valley Press does best - a debut poetry collection by an exciting Yorkshire-based writer. Readers familiar with the poet's work will find her key motifs of trees, birds and the elements present throughout the book, extended - like branches - across an overarching and universally recognisable narrative of love lost, love found and love treasured.
In this generous selection of forty-five poems, the writer combines flavours of Italy and Japan with distinctly English landscapes, and weather - wind that 'sings and sighs', skies that 'bled grey', thunder that 'rattles brittle windows', and weather that, let into the house, 'blasts the dust that hides on every shiny surface.' The poems also reflect Daniela's love of other art forms, with a dozen poems inspired by particular paintings, installations or music - even Bon Jovi makes an appearance, wishing wistfully on a 'paper tree'. Insightful, lyrical and touching, this is a collection that deserves a place on bookshelves throughout the world - especially yours.
Paperback page count: 66 / ISBN: 9781908853080
Daniela Nunnari graduated from York St John University with a BA
and MA in Literature and Creative Writing. She was poetry editor for Indigo Rising UK... (read more)
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Praise for Red Tree:
'Daniela's verse is crisp, passionate, full of hope.'
— Jack Mapanje
'A debut collection that comes fully formed, its neat, tight poems clicking together like a skeleton. Forensically examining the minutiae of a life lived with perhaps too few layers of skin, the verse at first appears delicate and brittle, yet on closer inspection proves to be tough, hard-edged and set to run.' — Oz Hardwick
'Tightly woven, passionately lyrical and everywhere suffused with an elegant and subtle music. To read these poems is to feel suddenly in touch with the natural world, but this collection is more than a hymn to the pastoral. Red Tree is a chronicle of growth, from life's pitfalls to its ultimate joys. A timeless first collection from a rare poet.'
— Steve Nash
He brings me wild things,
wild things with wings.
He leaps into the still and silent sky
to murder my metaphors.
He holds them in his mouth a while,
then lays them out before me on the floor.
Death is his gift.
Yet still I hope for the things with feathers.
Still I cradle them. Their tiny hearts beat rhythms in my hand.
Still I carry them outside, and stroke their heads and place
them on the ground.
With whispered apologies I retreat,
to watch them from the window,
to pray they’ll fly away.
Sometimes they do.
Sometimes we bury them.
As cold and stiff as cardboard boxes.
Crosses made from twigs pushed into soil
beneath the bushes they were born in.
And I scream at him and scold him,
lock him in and shut him out,
no longer welcome on my knee, my bed, his head pushed in my
And I hate him but I love him though I hate what he has done.
And before too long he’s back beside me, his face against my
And I forgive and he forgets
and balance is restored.
Then he brings me things,
wild things with wings,
and lays them on the floor.
from Memory of Place
3. Paper Willow – Wishing Tree
If wishes were willows,
they’d line every street.
They’d rustle and crinkle
their white paper leaves.
They’d hang low and heavy
with the weight of our woes.
They’d lean and embrace us
in long silent rows.
They’d keep our small secrets,
in loosely tied bows.
Leaves like birds
Leaves like birds,
birds like kites,
soaring on the other side
of boring business,
Crispy, crunchy, catapulted, caught
by wind that sings and sighs,
drawing dismal eyes
to windows. Moody
autumn moments moving,
crashing, calling to the core.
Cursing walls that separate us.
sky to floor.