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Susan Wicks, poet and novelist, was born in Kent, England, in 1947. She read French at the universities of Hull and Sussex, and wrote a D. Phil. Thesis on André Gide. She has lived and worked in France, Ireland and America and taught at the University of Dijon, University College Dublin and the University of Kent.

Her most recent book of poems, De-iced, was published in 2007 and a book of short stories, Roll Up for the Arabian Derby, was published in 2008.

Cold Spring in Winter

Arc Publications
2010 Shortlist
United Kingdom

Judges’ Citation

The translation by Susan Wicks is alert, inventive and gives a real sense of the level of linguistic risk and emotional force in Rouzeau’s original.

Cold Spring In Winter is a sequence of poems occasioned by the death of the author’s father. Valérie Rouzeau takes as her subject grief and the daily management of grief with its flowers, its armchairs, its special black clothes, its stupid idioms of consolation, its bundles of old Scrap Merchant magazines tied up with string (her father was a scrap metal dealer). The pages look like sentences of prose but they are often unpunctuated and the grammar invents itself in surprise jolts and slangy plunges. She makes the surface of the language dissolve and reform constantly as if it were aghast at itself. She pushes holes in the syntax and dives in and out of them, pulling the meaning after her. The tone seems controlled but it is the control of a shocked child. Overall a strange domestic dislocated voice and a crackling decisiveness of method. Grief is a very old room but here we walk into new air. The translation by Susan Wicks is alert, inventive and gives a real sense of the level of linguistic risk and emotional force in Rouzeau’s original.