Sue Hubbard

b. 1948


Sue Hubbard pays close and exact attention to the elemental world and the vulnerability of the human within it - Pascale Petit


About Sue Hubbard

Richly visual and with an eye for the telling detail, Sue Hubbard’s poetry is the work of a writer who has also spent much of her life as an art critic. The poems in this Archive recording showcase what Helen Mort has called Hubbard’s “painterly sensibility”, with many pieces taking visual works of art as their starting point. From ‘Room in New York, 1932’, which envisages Edward Hopper’s emotive painting as a moment of deceptive calm where “somewhere down the hall, a door slams”, to ‘Nude in Bathtub’, where Pierre Bonnard’s depictions of his bathing wife become a charged metaphor for ‘the nervy moments / that hemmed in his life’, finding the precise words to match the almost ineffably pictorial is an abiding fascination. As the speaker in ‘Blakeney’ implores, “Oh love, what I want to say / is look”, and it is in looking closely and honestly at the details of our everyday lives that Hubbard’s work finds its power.
 
Though she began writing at an early age, Sue Hubbard spent many years bringing up her children as a single parent, before she was able to become, in her own words, “a serious writer”. “I had to claim that for myself”, she has said in interview, echoing the experiences of many women writers in a literary culture geared towards the archetypally masculine. But it is precisely Hubbard’s interest in the familial and domestic, not to mention the renewed sense of perspective that parenthood can provide, that invigorates her poems. In ‘Checks and Balances’, the poet finds delicate profundity in a return visit to her childhood home, a place where “I sit hugging that past as the tears / come, trying to find words to unlock, / to name this longing”, while ‘Ghost Station’ conjures a lament for the seemingly minor but emotionally seismic moments of our lives in a list of lost objects: “Think of a bent hair-pin lodged for years under a wooden carriage seat / fallen from a stook of auburn hair, a single collar-stud trapped beneath”.
 
This Archive recording draws on Hubbard’s three published collections to date – Everything Begins with the Skin (1994), Ghost Station (2004) and The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (2013) – to offer a broad canvas of work, taking in everything from Eurydice in a London underpass to a ship forging through “cerulean ice-fields”, from moments of intense sensual intimacy to a metaphysical encounter with ‘The Idea of Islands’. Throughout, Hubbard delivers her lines with earnestness and urgency, suggesting Martyn Crucefix’s assessment of Hubbard as a “poet who serves as an antidote to the chirpy shallow materialism of much of our culture”.
 
Sue Hubbard’s recording was made on 4th November 2015 at The Soundhouse, London and was produced by Anne Rosenfeld.  

The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (Salt Publishing,...

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Ghost Station (Salt Publishing, 2004)

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Oxford Poets 2000: An Anthology (Carcanet Press, 2001)

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Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon Press, 1994...

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Prizes

1999 Blackwells/TLS Poetry Competition, 'Ghost Station' (shortlist)

1999 London Writers Competition, 'Gone to Earth' (winner)

2002 London Writers Competition, 'Rope' (winner)

Recordings

Sue Hubbard Downloads

1Assimilation

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2Gloves

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3Convalescent

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4Lullaby for Megan

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6Blight

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5Checks and Balances

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7Nude in Bathtub

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8Eurydice

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9Ghost Station

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10A Necklace of Tongues

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11Gone to Earth

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12Room in New York, 1932

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13Blakeney

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14Rope

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15A Meaningful Speech

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16The Ice Ship

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17Naked Portrait, 1972-3

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18Smokers

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19Love in Whitstable

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20Meeting

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21Eve Arnold Remembers

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22Note for Ted

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23The Idea of Islands

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24Ballinskelligs

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25Yes

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26Afternoon in Sienna

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27Duccio's Dawn

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28Earth-Dreams

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29She

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30And Soon

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31Snail Woman

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