Publication date: 7th July 2022
DCF: Poetry Collections
Cover artwork by Ben Rothery @BRillustrations
Tania Hershman's Still Life With Octopus is an exquisitely-attuned second collection, a philosophical and poetic interrogation of the boundaries of animal and human worlds and the intimate nature of time, being and joy. Exploring the slippage between the life of the mind and the life of the body - in particular, those belonging to women – Hershman wonders what might happen if we let go of our preconceptions of both reality and language, taking nothing for granted and starting again from first principles, with fresh eyes.
While trying to fathom our physical and metaphysical existence, Hershman doesn’t ignore the other forms of intelligent life we share our planet with; her octopus is envisioned both as a creature within and alongside us and as a way to consider our place as humans within a greater chain of co-existence. Still Life With Octopus is a precisely observed and open-hearted gift of a book.
Praise for Still Life With Octopus:
"Tania Hershman’s new collection is a fascinating shapeshifter like the octopus herself. Who is human, who is animal, what is heart, arm, brain? Let these wonderful poems take you along on their journey yearning to be free of hard parts and you will be transformed." - Anja Konig
"What better creature than the Octopus to stand in for what poetry might be? Alien and earthly. Depth dwelling and fluorescent. Legs and organs, at once. This too is Still Life With Octopus, a book of powerful paradox, and a collection as distinct, brilliant and vivid as you will come across this year. Hershman's poems are wonderfully deceptive, observant, affable, hiding within them hearts of ink, images of the unseen and unknown. Today, these poems are your back pain. Tomorrow, they are the fathomless seas. This is what poetry might be, and this is to be celebrated." - SJ Fowler
“Wry, witty and sometimes artfully camouflaged, Tania Hershman’s poems in Still Life with Octopus reach out in many directions with an octopoid grace and attention to detail. They quickly escape the inky confines of the page to take up residence in the deeper crevices of the reader’s mind, where they begin the necessary work of unscrewing all kinds of lids.” - Adam Horovitz
Tania Hershman's second poetry collection, Still Life With Octopus, will be published by Nine Arches Press in July 2022 and her debut novel, Go On, by Broken Sleep Books in Oct 2022. Her poetry pamphlet, How High Did She Fly, was joint winner of Live Canon's 2019 Poetry Pamphlet Competition and her hybrid particle-physics-inspired book 'and what if we were all allowed to disappear' was published by Guillemot Press in March 2020. Tania is also the author of a poetry collection, a poetry chapbook and three short story collections, and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers' & Artists' Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is co-creator of the @OnThisDayShe Twitter account, co-author of the On This Day She book (John Blake, 2021), and has a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics.
Author photo by Grace Gelder