Seventy Beats

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Seventy BeatsOnce in a while, a poet comes along whose work surprises you. This can be for a variety of reasons. Wordsworth and Coleridge, for instance, surprised their readers, on the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798, by their use of plain, everyday language and simple, traditional forms.

Philippa Crundwell’s first collection, Seventy Beats, stands out not least because of the incredible range of various voices and personae other than her own, which in a writer not yet twenty years of age is nothing less than astonishing.

While most teenage poets are producing long, formless, adolescent diatribes about forlorn love, this author is adopting the voices of two Afghan refugees, or lamenting the loss of the elephant to indiscriminate poaching. As well as this deployment of an extremely fertile imagination, she demonstrates an adventurous use of vocabulary and metaphor, and a cheerful willingness to engage with traditional metre and rhyme on occasions.

This is a book which sets down a marker, a book which says "here is a new voice”, a book which introduces a name to watch out for in the future, one which, if the author does go on to fulfil the tremendous early potential contained in these pages, it will be impossible to ignore. You heard it here first, but if independent confirmation were needed, then there is the fact that she won the Ocado/Peace One Day UK-wide poetry competition in 2013 at the age of only 15, with her Poem For Peace.

Philippa Crundwell has lived in West Sussex all her life. She wrote her first poem at the age of five and hasn’t been able to stop writing poems, short stories and plays ever since.  Also an ambassador for New Writing South, and one of the creators of the Writers’ Manifesto, she is passionate about the importance of creative writing in education and believes writing is something that should be available to everyone everywhere.

"There is a clarity in these poems, a fresh voice, unencumbered by the baggage of age. The writer looks you in the eye and tells how it is for her. Honest writing,moving writing.” - MICHAEL MORPURGO, OBE, acclaimed writer and former Children's Laureate

"Philippa Crundwell blends inner with outer landscapes, overlaying nature with moods - from contemplative sorrow to blind fury - from mountains to flocks of starlings...One to watch..." - ALI SPARKES, best-selling author of the SHAPESHIFTER series

"I’ve been really impressed on my first look by the breadth of subject matter and depth of maturity of Philippa’s poems. She shows a maturing beyond her years. And I particularly liked Land of Lost Gifts!" - PETER JAMES, international best-selling British writer.

Hear Philippa read LIME GREEN MOON, one of the poems from the book, here: