“Elaine Baker writes so beautifully about love: macrocosmic passion and domestic comfort are drawn with sharp, sensual tenderness. But Winter with Eva is also a timely sociopolitical exploration and a gripping page-turner of a pamphlet, one to read carefully yet compulsively in a single sitting.” Rachel Piercey
Winter with Eva is very human, very conscious.
A sample poem can be found below.
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We’re all set up –
two beers. Mixed nuts.
Half a plastic tub of Roses on the rug.
It’s a Wonderful Life
playing out on the telly.
You’ve been baking
and before you’re back with the plate
I can already taste the cozonac –
sweet and melting.
We pull the crackers,
put on the paper crowns
settle down to watch George Bailey drown
in his small American town.
Every year’s the same.
I pretend this isn’t crying.
It doesn’t get you
till the end,
when all George’s friends descend,
fill the room with smiles,
empty their pockets to an impromptu chorus of
‘Hark the Herald’.
Now your tears are coming,
there’s no stopping them.
You say you miss the singing.
Where are all the children?
As Elaine's launches were affected by the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, she started a series of daily video readings from Winter with Eva. Day 10, featuring the poem 'Water cooler', can be watched below.
"[...] There is a strong sense of narrative arc: two people meeting, falling in love, sharing their lives until cracks show ending with Sean’s dilemma. The poems balance celebration and disintegration. A satisfying read."
Emma Lee, full review here.
"This is a love story so sensual that you can smell autumn leaves on the ground and taste snow on your lips. [...] It’s this mixture of words and meanings and connotations which adds depth to the poetry, and tension to the story. [...] Elaine Baker’s visually surprising images are a joy. [...]"
Candyce Lange, Sphinx/OPOI (One Point of Interest), the full review 'When reading a pamphlet is like watching a play' here.
"Sean’s flawed character adds an extra level of narrative tension to these poems, something I appreciated. There are many fine images and lucid lines, especially the innovative ‘Whiteout’ (‘Then you push me so I’m knee-deep in ice sugar, / tell me to open, / slip snow in my mouth, a white wafer’). I liked the quirky tenderness in ‘Earbud’ and ‘Creation’; the latter also contains rhythmical, visceral language for making art: ‘You scratch around for dirt and spit into your palm, / work to make the paste to paint a man’. The poem delves into Eva’s backstory, but its energy is in its imagery."
Sarah Law, The Poetry School, full review here.