Lynda Tavakoli

The Boiling Point for Jam

ISBN: 9781851322497

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Here are poems pitch-perfect and assured, where sharp and tender observation is brought to us in strikingly-vigorous language. From the intimacy of personal loss, to war and its cruel consequences, from Fermanagh to Tehran, the poems in Lynda Tavakoli’s The Boiling Point for Jam are always surprising, always true, always made more by her choice of image and her unfailing lightness of touch. A remarkable collection.

– Geraldine Mitchell


The Boiling Point for Jam is an accomplished body of work from a poet whose reverence for nature is a constant and comforting aesthetic. In poems which explore themes of innocence and experience, Lynda Tavakoli’s empathy with smaller, everyday miracles is both inspirational and nurturing. A lyrical sensibility thrived from the sturdy roots of a rural upbringing gifts glimpses into an authentic world familiar, yet fresh and original. These poems traverse time and place, steeped in an emotional temperature that chimes in mind, body and soul. With language delicate as a blackbird’s song (‘Kitchen Comforts’) right through to visceral grief, ‘suit pockets spilling nettles/and the sea-spit dully freckled/in your hair’ (‘Shooting Pigeons’), this poet transforms the subtlest observations into powerful epiphanies.

– Eileen Casey


Here we find poems that could hold their own in a collection by any well-established poet. Take ‘The Big Freeze’, for example, with its beautiful ending in crow dialogue – ‘as one by one they picked words from the earth/and rested them upon the other’s mouth/like a coming melt of snow’, or the arresting ‘Forty-Three Grams’ which stands out as one of the finest poems I have read in a long time, or in ‘The Boiling Point For Jam’, exploring the celebration of endurance and the wading into the ordinary with a small promise of hope. There is a hint of Larkin’s ‘An Arundel Tomb’ here too in ‘Unearthed’ – ‘A coupling of corpses, not yet dust,/years passing across them/like ghosts through open portals,/unearthing more than just a smatter of bone’. These are earned poems forged in everyday experience that will resonate with anyone who exists on this side of the semi-permeable membrane between what some take for granted and the other. Words are carefully chosen from the toolbox – ‘waiting only for the joy of their release’ – in this refreshing collection from a new voice well worth reading.

– Ger Reidy

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.