Artifice

Lavinia Singer

Studio Foss (Design) TJ Books (Printer)

Prototype

Paperback

80pp

ISBN: 978-1-913513-35-1

Poetry

Publication date: 8 March 2023

£12.00

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Artifice, the debut collection by Lavinia Singer, is an exploration of the art of making. Its poems celebrate the artistry of craftsmanship: how works relate to beauty, and how they might inspire or ensnare. They consider issues of artificiality and authenticity, ‘the man-made’ and ‘the natural’. They warn of artfulness, in the sense of cunning or deception. And they wonder at the mystery of art and language, that which resolutely remains unknown or ineffable.

For Artifice is as much riddle as revelation, stirring delight and discomfort as it delves into the nature of aesthetics and the creative process. How are works made and how do they make us, in turn? What worlds can be built from words? This book dwells in possibility, presenting an ambiguous space for contemplation, connection and, ideally, hope.

‘These are stunning poems drawn out of a richness in language that melds with notions of craftwork and the microcosm. Singer invites us to discard what is known of the world, and to rebuild it through traversing spaces of beauty and art.’ – Denise Saul

‘Through their deep attention and engagement with ever-changing surfaces and the materiality of representations, the poems in Artifice open outwards into encounters with the mystical and divine. This startling debut collection offers the reader a set of compasses that orients us towards that which is veiled, the unspeakable and unknown – what more could we ask for?’ – Lucy Mercer

‘In this daring, exquisitely crafted collection, poems are plotters, pathfinders, and forms of enchantment in a darkening world. Artifice glitters with moments of revelation, which emerge from the mysteries of invention, the perils of climate crisis, the weight of passing time. Over five distinctive parts, it explores what it is to be artful in the twenty-first century, from conjuring ancient forms to making new ones tremble. Here, the eye is reminded of all that continues to deceive it, of all the wonders that have yet to dance before it, of all the ways in which it does not know. Always on the edge of becoming something else, Singer’s poems are thrillingly unsettled and searching. In her hands, poetry bears a wide horizon of astonishment.’ – Natalie Ferris

Lavinia Singer is the author of the pamphlet Ornaments: A Handbook (If a Leaf Falls/Glyph Press, 2020) and co-editor of Try To Be Better (Prototype, 2019), a creative-critical engagement with the work of W. S. Graham. Artifice is her first full collection of poetry.