Transformation is the underlying theme of Sujata Bhatt's new collection, the title deriving from a mystical being with skin that is 'pure lizard'. The natural world is ever present in these poems; monkeys, crickets and bats reappear in new incarnations, and a field of organic sunflowers in Pennsylvania is juxtaposed with sunflowers grown out of the toxic soil of Chernobyl. "Pure Lizard" also documents artistic exchange in its many forms: Schiller's desk is taken to Buchenwald during the Second World War, and Jane Eyre haunts a laboratory in Baltimore. There are poems in response to music by composers as varied as Telemann, Bob Zieff, and Philip Glass, as well as a poetic correspondence with the Welsh writer Gillian Clarke about a writer's sense of home and place, to be broadcast by BBC Radio Drama. Sujata Bhatt is one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary poetry. She is, the New Statesman declared, 'one of the finest poets alive', and alive in a unique way to issues of politics and gender, to place and history, to different cultural and linguistic traditions.
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