Happiness is the long-anticipated debut collection from Jack Underwood. These bright, beguiling poems worry at the world, surreally exploring the 'reservoir of wrongheaded questions' with which love and death confront us. Readers will meet life's strangeness half-way in poems where a childhood horse and recent lover look through a photo album together; where 'sadness is a yacht . . . an anvil dropped from heaven'; fear for a future child is 'a fizz building in a bad grey egg'; a beef steak is 'a question, hung in itself, about blood', and love is someone 'pausing to move a snail somewhere safer in the rain'. In the unpredictable world of these inventive poems, visualisation becomes an empathetic act, a means of sharing the 'fearful and forgotten things' we lie to ourselves about. Happiness is a collection preoccupied with the ephemerality of happiness itself, at the ever-present possibility of its departure, and the ways we try to grasp and keep hold of it. Self-aware and sad, daring and funny, this is an accomplished and memorable debut from a distinct new voice.
About the Author
Jack Underwood was born in Norwich in 1984. He graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design in 2005 before completing an MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College, where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007 and Faber published his debut pamphlet in 2009 as part of the Faber New Poet series. He also teaches at the Poetry School, co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives, and reviews for Poetry London and Poetry Review.