American poet Zakia Carpenter-Hall’s stunning debut Into the Same Sound Twice is a place where ‘the ordinary rules of motion’ don’t always apply. What ensues are words, bodies and environments that thrum with new music. In language that is at once precise and tender, Carpenter-Hall leads us into rituals of care, ancestral memory, a rainbow that coruscates and various forms of rupture and repair.
Borders can become meaningfully blurred. In ‘Shakespeare Honours My Grandmother’, a play’s burial scene merges with a funeral taking place four-thousand miles away. The language of dramaturgy is then used to describe both. ‘Big Talk’ counters the unfathomable vastness of space with the sensuality of a kiss. The collection creates its own multi-sensory language and landscape.
A tour-de-force sequence, ‘The Earth-Eating Fire’, is a reflection on wildfires all over the world, from California to Australia. The poem considers how human beings impact the outside world and vice versa in a way that’s both hauntingly delicate and powerful. Captured in these poems – both intimate and vast – is the sense of how much we do not know, how much there still is to be achieved – but sometimes the body, rhythm and poetry itself can be a conduit.
“Zakia Carpenter-Hall is a rare, and hugely important, new talent. Her grave intelligence is lightly worn: a questioning diction guides us through poems packed with ideas and feeling. The exquisite technique is so thoroughly achieved it becomes almost beside the point. Into the Same Sound Twice displays how language, like the world it witnesses, is something radiantly prismatic.” – Fiona Sampson
“To constantly bring the real into the strange and surreal to get at a greater and more difficult human truth is a hard trick to pull off, but Zakia Carpenter-Hall nails it every single time in Into the Same Sound Twice. A writer who seems to be making mythology seemingly from thin air. She’s definitely a writer to keep a keen eye on.” – Roger Robinson
“Meticulously written, this is an enthralling, foot-sure sequence. Brave, thoughtful and agonisingly precise, these poems move effortlessly between the big mysteries and smaller scenes of heart-breaking intimacy. Carpenter-Hall is a sublime listener, attentive to the textures of our ecologies, histories and hauntings, and her profoundly musical songs weave a “good net”, hauling in the voices of our deepest moments of human tenderness and fragility. These poems continue to simmer in the ear and under the skin long after they’ve been read. One to savour over and over.” – Fiona Benson
Into the Same Sound Twice
Published by Seren May 8th 2023
36 printed pages
‘Important, groundbreaking work is happening here, therefore – “the cultural burn begins” – and these beautiful poems are, in that sense, on fire… this slim pamphlet is, further, wonderfully expansive, containing not just the world but the cosmos beyond; it is finely, daringly, cleverly written; and, it is often surprising.’ ~ Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine
“This debut collection is expertly crafted, and spans huge themes. There is a deep connectedness between the poems which twist and loop through different realities… I am left with a sense of multitudes; we are all connected by threads, past and present, everything is intermingled. These poems burst with treasures, and yield more each time they are read and savoured.” ~ Dr Khadija Rouf, The Friday Poem