Jacqueline Gabbitas’ short poetry collection, Mid Lands, is grounded in both the real, physical landscape of the North Nottinghamshire of her early life and the metaphorical mid lands of language. In her use of dialect and accent she mbraces a richness often overlooked in English poetry. Her poems are sometimes dark in their content, sometimes lighter, but the lyrical voice is always simultaneously elegant and tough. She brings to life murderous cheese mongers, cave dwelling spiders and Chinese goddesses and gives voices to fields and disenfranchised coal miners. Framing these fantastical stories are the tender and honest poems to and about her family and late sister.
It would act something like a headstone then.
No need for an inscription when each year
fat buds would break into leaves
shining like your eyes did or like the light
on Whitby Harbour when your ashes
caught the sea, the day’s end in their arc.
from The Pomegranate Tree
In 'Mid Lands', Jacqueline Gabbitas reveals an acute ear for the warmth of homeland dialect and an astute and telling eye for startling detail. I thoroughly recommend this impressive debut.
Martha Kapos, Assistant Poetry Editor, Poetry London
I took pleasure in these intimate conversations with the reader in which, often in a single poem, an intense lyricism is combined with the down-to-earth detail of everyday life. Ultimately, Jacqueline Gabbitas is always surefooted – with her feet on the ground technically and emotionally. –
Here is a voice which often addresses the reader directly. Jacqueline Gabbitas makes rich use of the language of Nottinghamshire where she grew up. Her writing is poignant, humorous, thoughtful, tender, extraordinarily observant and sometimes is all of these within one poem. Read this poet and watch out for what she writes next.