About Lorraine Mariner

Lorraine Mariner grew up in Upminster and attended Huddersfield University, where she read English, and University College London, where she read Library and Information Studies. She lives in London and works as an Assistant Librarian at the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre. Her pamphlet Bye For Now was published by The Rialto in 2005, and in 2007 a poem published in The Rialto magazine ‘Thursday’ (an account of the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. Her collection Furniture was published by Picador in 2009 and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize. Her second collection There Will Be No More Nonsense was published by Picador in 2014.

Mariner’s uniquely witty, generous, melancholy, memorable poems have won the praise of reviewers and readers alike. While tending to be drawn to the minutiae of the everyday, the hallmark of Mariner’s poetry is the way it manages to uncover intimate details and insights in the terrains of an unpromising urban normality that are at once recognisable and sharply surprising. Her poems locate an extra dimension in seemingly mundane parts of reality: an imagining of the life of a toll booth attendant has them hearing a snatch of music from a car ‘so beautiful / that your soul / begins to lift // then it’s gone / foot down / crossing the river’, while a reminiscence about an imaginary boyfriend, ‘Stanley’ (‘nothing in our relationship has ever surprised me’) is at first hilarious, then unexpectedly moving. Moments that are at once familiar and from elsewhere  – a garden flashing past, the ‘quality thud’ of a hardback – arrive reliably in Mariner’s poems, but each seems to be a completely new discovery. Her readings are casual, quiet, funny, offbeat, almost deadpan; but to call these poems merely ‘quirky’ (perhaps the kneejerk adverb) would be to do them a disservice – the work is too aware of the bleakness of its backdrops, the odds stacked against the small, humane occurrences of life, which makes their determined preserving of those occurrences an all the more remarkable achievement.

This recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 25 March 2014 at Soundhouse and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.

Lorraine Mariner’s favourite poetry quotation:

I have this quote by George Brecht above my desk, he’s known primarily as a conceptual artist but we have some of his poetry books in the Poetry Library:

“There is so little to do and so much time to do it in.” – George Brecht

There Will Be No More Nonsese, Picador, 2014

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Furniture, Picador, 2009

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Bye For Now, The Rialto, 2005

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Prizes

2005 Arts Council Writer's Award

2007 Forward Prize for best individual poem (shortlist)

Recordings

Lorraine Mariner

Lorraine Mariner Downloads

1My Wedding

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2Stanley

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3Assertiveness role play

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4Chair

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5The Bank of England

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6Credit

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7Toll booth attendant

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8Adam

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9What percentage of the world’s water is contained in a cow

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10Section 3 - Write text - p22

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11Littlewoods

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12Suntan

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13London Lite

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14Many happy returns

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15Capital cities

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16Furniture

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17Swimming lesson

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18Say I forgot

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19Bye for now

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20Mac

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21Feathers

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22My Beast

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23My father’s soldiers

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24Tree

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25As much as you can - What else to do

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26When they come alive - They never told me - A bed of paper

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27And then there will be no more nonsense

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28Thursday

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29The Grand Orrery

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30Stars

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31Lieserl Einstein

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32In my worst moments

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33The Deadly Sins and the Holy Virtues - No 1 Chastity

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34The Deadly Sins and the Holy Virtues - No 2 Gluttony

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35The Deadly Sins and the Holy Virtues - No 7 - Humility

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36Fortune

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37There is nothing wrong with my sister

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38Second wives

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39Conversation at midnight

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40Cities

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41At this hour

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Books by Lorraine Mariner