When the Tree Falls

'The Irish poet Jane Clarke has followed a great debut collection with an even better second book. When the Tree Falls talks about her farming father in his last years. It delivers a clean, hard-earned simplicity and a lovely sense of line.' Anne Enright, The Irish Times (Books of the Year 2019)

'Looking outwards to the fields of memory, Clarke wishes peace on her father. Not a word too few or too many dignify the endeavour; nothing is left hanging or given to chance. And in a moment of extreme focus, she sees his world through her father’s own eyes, fusing man and terrain in one unbreakable unity of meaning, and conferring a kind of grace on a life well lived. The languid sibilance of the final couplet, whose pace demands contemplation, is humbling in its sonorous keening beauty.'  - Steve Whitaker, 'Poem of the Week' The Yorkshire Times, 12 October 2021

'Clarke has clearly paid the closest attention to the lives and worlds around her. Though there is a deep sadness in many of these poems, there is also a lightness and a willingness to let tenderness and humour shine through...Clarke delicately attends to the rhythms and textures of life, weaving themes together in a subtle and carefully-constructed work.' - Julie Morrissy, Poetry Ireland Review 131


'Loss is never far away in her work but neither is delight - in the natural world, people, the particular quality of a place. She writes with clarity, spareness and lyrical intensity' - Sue Leigh reviews When the Tree Falls in the PN Review: Issue 252, March-April 2020.

'She writes in language of remarkable economy, directness and purity bringing landscape and farming practice vividly to life. Alongside distinguished Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, she has become of poet of record.' - Dilys Wood reviews When the Tree Falls in Artemis Poetry: Issue 24, May 2020. 

'In forty-nine carefully wrought fluent poems, the longest of 30 lines, When the Tree Falls communicates spaces left by the poet's father within the family, the home and land he farmed. In so doing, Jane Clarke shows how an integrated life, though unremarkable to many, is woven into so many aspects of other people's lives, into the family and outside, into life cycles, the fields and animals... I can't recommend highly enough this sensitive, thought-provoking and ultimately life-affirming collection." - Maria Isakova Bennett reviews When the Tree Falls in Orbis: issue 193, Spring 2020.

'In this eloquent, reflective collection, Clarke wields language with enviable delicacy and a quiet intelligence, creating an immensely satisfying and ultimately uplifting book, one that tackles loss by celebrating love, that acknowledges pain and fear, but also points to the difference compassion and care for one another can make to the close of a good life' - New Zealand poet Claire Orchard reviews When the Tree Falls in the Poetry Shelf, 25 February 2020.

'Jane Clarke's poems have an epic simplicity, a seeming artlessness that is shaped by the natural instincts of a true poet. Deeply felt and genuine, finely crafted, they resonate beyond the range of many louder voices.' - David Cooke reviews When the Tree Falls in the NORTH, Issue 63, January 2020.

'She's a poet who blends the contemporary with a great sense of the ancient and the rural... When the Tree Falls is focussed very much on the death of her father, but it's an incredibly celebratory poetry collection... There's no sentimentality, no ornamentation; every word is incredibly honed and carries a really deep emotional weight.' - Jessica Traynor reviews When the Tree Falls on RTE Radio 1's Arena (Poetry Books of the Year 2019)

'When the Tree Falls confirms Jane Clarke's position as one of the most rewarding poets in these islands. She knows how to cut a line, how to shape words to the right instrument and then to make the thing sing.' - Tony Curtis chooses When the Tree Falls as his poetry book of the year in Poetry Wales, (Poetry Books of the Year 2019) 

'When the Tree Falls is a protracted and desperately moving song of loss... wonderful, profoundly complete collection of poems. The sequence of poems which deal with his terminal decline are amongst the most moving i have read, as intuitively aware of the delicate, but sustaining, co-existence of the natural world, as to embody the  possibility of resurrection, if only in the resilience of the commemoration.' - Steve Whitaker reviews When the Tree Falls in the Yorkshire Times, 12 December 2019.

'These poems are rich and earthy, natural and cultivated, and When the Tree Falls is a beautiful second collection, giving the reader not only a sense of loss, but also peace, and even joy, in the quiet memories.' - Irish poet Aoife Lyall reviews When the Tree Falls, 11 December 2019.

'Her observation of nature is... precise, her poems... honed to the bone. Jane Clarke knows exactly how much to withhold so that the understated phrases echo eloquently across the white space of the unsaid.' - Martina Evans reviews When the Tree Falls in The Irish Times, 16 November 2019.  

'Why is poetry so capable of dealing with grief? It is something to do with the slowness of poems, their rhythmical gravity, their very pulse, which seems to simulate the heart's regular pulse too. They oblige us to take life at a seriously regular walking pace. Jane Clarke's new collection, When the Tree Falls, is about her father's dying. He was a farmer, and the poems pull in the circumstances of his life on the land, and of how he and it were wedded to each other. It centres on him but it is also a celebration of how he was centred by place and community.' - Michael Glover reviews When the Tree Falls in The Tablet, 31 October 2019.

'The poems are plain-spoken and restrained: they resist easy consolation. Their austerity serves to intensify the unmediated emotion they almost don't want to capture... a poem might be born of personal loss, but, once completed and published, it has entered a different timespan, and becomes the forge where minds are shaped and brightened.

Many of Clarke's poems are rooted in the landscape of the west of Ireland... and the farming context in which the lives of individual humans are played out asserts its own rhythm and narrative. In honouring this larger context Clarke enlarges her poetic field with an unobtrusive but important ecopoetic dimension.' - Carol Rumens reviews When the Tree Falls in the context of her in-depth reading of a poem from the collection in Poem of the Week, The Guardian, 7 October 2019.

'Jane's poems are eloquent and fluid; each poem is well thought-out and expertly crafted, and most importantly for me, they read easily... I want to walk into the experience of the words and understand how they connect with my own personal emotions and experiences. And Jane's poems do exactly this. A wonderful thought-provoking collection.' - When the Tree Falls is reviewed in the inaugural issue of THE POET Magazine, Autumn 2019. 

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