Judith Bishop’s book begins with a series of intimate portraits of home and family life, the natural world, and the responsibilities we bring to them. The poems address birth and death, growth and decay, myth and legend. Then Bishop’s vision expands to include tides, maps, and the earth viewed from high above. Some of her most affecting poems are inspired by works of art.
Most significantly, each of the poems in this book is finished to a high standard of prosodic proficiency. Bishop knows how to select the appropriate form for the varying individual subjects she writes about, from free verse and a prose poem to the intricacy of a villanelle. With Interval, this poet has moved even further into an intense lyrical style where her ‘ear’ for just the right cadence is unwavering. These poems have the stamp of attention to craft and inner music woven through each section.
There was no disagreement among the judges as to the suitability of this book as this year’s winner. It is the work of a polished and highly technically accomplished writer who ranges in subject matter from the large-scale to the intimate. While there are other poets on our short list who demonstrate a similar range, none can match this collection for its consistency, depth and intellectual range.