Author: Alexandra Strnad (Homerton 2004)
Publisher: Eyewear Publishing
From the cobbled streets of Prague, to the rivers, and coastlines, of the Scottish Borders, Pilgrims journeys through place and time, juxtaposing the totalitarian authority over life in communist Czechoslovakia, fishing communities left without menfolk following storms in the North Sea, and love and longing against the variegated seasonal backdrop of the British Isles.
"In settings that range from a past Prague to the sensuous present of the Scottish uplands, distance and closeness co-exist to create an often hallucinatory immediacy. Pivotal moments of change and dislocation interweave, through a lens of emotional connection, with the time-surpassing elements of the natural world. The collection is characterized throughout by a deft precision and a clarity of perception that give to the whole a compelling authenticity."
Dr. Clare Morgan - Director, Master of Studies in Creative Writing, University of Oxford
"Alexandra Strnad's characteristically supple and observant voice takes new flight in this second pamphlet, which hymns the harsh beauty of landscapes from the Scottish Borders to faraway Bohemia ("a land-locked country...always thirsting for the sea"). Page after page, she leads us by the hand across topographies of outer and inner worlds, at once exploring the "white-lipped, blue-veined" terrain of distant places, and - what is rarer - "the quiet / rigging of a soul". This volume is as much a journey into the imagination as into ourselves; a pilgrimage that is its own sweet destination."
Theophilus Kwek, Editor, Oxford Poetry
"Alexandra Strnad’s voice is measured - “calm as all truth-tellers”, to quote her out of context – but there’s an insistence, a pulse and panic, beneath its poised surface. These are beautifully-made poems; thoughtful, observant and undeceived narratives peopled by “disaster tourists/wanting to be alone”. She has bite, and she sings."
Declan Ryan - Poet, and Former Poetry Editor, Ambit Magazine