Leonie Rushforth

Studio Foss (Design) KOPA, Lithuania (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513214


Publication date: 8 February 2022



Shortlisted for the 2022 Seamus Heaney Poetry Prize for a First Collection

Deltas, Leonie Rushforth’s first book, reveals a poetics on high alert, where the ‘tireless human sonar’ scans a compromised world for calamity and grace. In her vision of precarity and connectedness, attention might prove the opposite of surveillance: a tender, sober act of keeping faith with the ethical force of exact expression.

Her poems are provisional landscapes, like river deltas, where with language both sidelong and luminous she suggests a way of seeing and measuring distances – temporal, spatial, political – that opens a route not only to individual survival but to humane dialogue and the hope of community.

Deltas is a delicate and subtle collection, but one that also contains a potent, muscular undertow of intense and sometimes violent emotion. Rushforth’s voice is fresh and startling – making you see the detail of the world anew, illuminated by her brilliantly precise and dazzling language. A rich, deeply rewarding poetic experience.’ – Rebecca Tamás

‘Great poetry notices the unnoticed. In her welcome debut collection Rushforth displays a talent for paying meticulous attention both to language and the world it describes. She has an uncanny ability to find the tiny importances in things through poems suffused with a mixture of tenderness and clarity of vision. Past, present and future coalesce and converse but there is nothing retrospective here – these are memorable and important poems which furnish us with “a way to look back/that will deliver us from the future.” A remarkable, unforgettable collection for these remarkable and unforgettable times.’ – John Glenday

‘Rather as the muntjac is “picking its material way across the paddock, / believing itself to be both spotlit / as indeed it was, and invisible” (‘Muntjac’), this poetry is also concerned with the visible and the invisible. Leonie Rushforth perfectly balances an interiority of vision with a sense of the physicality of the world. The language is surprisingly elastic and steadily revealing of the barely expressible. A distinctive and most welcome début.’ – Moniza Alvi

‘These poems flow through vivid landscapes to reveal the constantly changing journey of relationships, the unions and farewells in a life, through the constantly changing relationships of water – river to land, river to ocean, and “the silvery light” by which we look at them all. Beautiful.’ – Ruth Padel


Leonie Rushforth was born in Ely in 1956. She lives in east London. Deltas is her first full collection of poems.