The Hopeful Hat is Carole Satyamurti’s last collection. She was preparing these poems for publication at the time of her death, and left the manuscript in an advanced state of readiness. The sequencing of the poems, and the sections they are grouped in, had already been decided by her.
These late poems are informed by Satyamurti’s keen eye for social injustice and, equally, by the breadth of her compassion. Poignantly, they are also her nuanced poetic response to having her voice box removed following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. The poems’ formal accomplishment is carried lightly; characteristically, it is this light touch that enables Satyamurti to move so deeply. Clear-eyed in the face of her own mortality, she produced a series of courageous poems that are, as Carol Ann Duffy said of her work, ‘laced with the hard stuff’. They are also graced with Satyamurti’s unique and subtle wit.
The preface by the poet’s daughter, Emma Satyamurti, places this collection in the larger context of four decades of published work, and provides an illuminating insight into the poems gathered together here.
Poetry Book Society Recommendation.