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Destroyed Dresses

by Cara Brennan

'The morning is a hot drink in a cold glass.'

‘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.

A Read Regional Choice for 2014. Paperback temporarily out of stock.

‘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


Cara Brennan was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, in 1990, and currently lives in Newcastle. She graduated from the Newcastle University Creative Writing MA with distinction.

Her poems have appeared in magazines including Ink Sweat & Tears, The Cadaverine, Pomegranate, Diamond Twig and Myths of the Near Future.

She is a proud graduate of the Writing Squad, where she completed the ‘Stanza Stones’ project with Simon Armitage. Her debut poetry pamphlet, Destroyed Dresses, was published by Valley Press in 2012, and was a Read Regional choice in 2014.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2012-08-21

ISBN: 9781908853073

Catalogue Number: VP0037

Number of Pages: 26

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

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