Yield by Claire Dyer

I so loved interviewing Claire Dyer and sharing my review of her novel The Last Day in a post you can read here, that I was delighted to be asked by Anne Nolan at Two Rivers Press to help launch Claire’s latest poetry collection Yield on publication day. I’m very much looking forward to the online launch for Yield later today. My enormous thanks to Anne for sending me a copy of Yield in return for an honest review.

Published by Two Rivers Press today, 21st February 2021, Yield is available for purchase here.

Yield

  • Born from the poet’s own experience this collection charts the journey, from a mother’s perspective, of the transition of her younger child from boy to girl
  • A powerful blend of poetic and narrative art from an accomplished storyteller
  • Three senses of the word ‘yield’ underpin the poetry: to bring forth, to give way, and to gain something valuable

Three definitions of the word Yield give meaning to the odyssey undergone in Claire Dyers third collection: a journey which sees a son become a daughter, and a mother a poet for both of them.

Charting these transitions, the poems take us through territories known and familiar landscapes of childhood, family and home into further regions where inner lives alter, outer ones are reimagined. Whether evoking clinic visits, throwing away old boyhood clothes, grieving over what’s lost, these honest and unashamed poems build to celebrate that place at the heart of motherhood where gender is no differentiator and love the gain.

My Review of Yield

A collection of personal poems.

Yield is an intimate, intense portrait of a mother’s profound, unconditional love for her child, even when circumstances are challenging. I found this multi-faceted collection interesting, beautifully written and utterly inspiring. Claire Dyer writes poetry that tackles a modern concept – a son transitioning into a daughter – with freshness and innovation whilst drawing on the traditions of poetry that give the entire work gravitas and depth. So many times when reading Yield I was reminded of the poetry of Gerald Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson or Dylan Thomas, because of the intricately crafted lines, the natural references and the depth of feeling behind the poems.

I don’t know whether Claire Dyer paints as well as writes, but I found Yield a highly visual collection. Blues and yellows abound and there is a painterly eye for detail that makes the poems vibrate with meaning. In Saturday, for example the lines read akin to setting detail in a play so that I could envisage Claire Dyer moving through her day so vividly. I loved the iterative references to foxes in many of the poems, representing, to me, depth of colour, pain, fierce protection, man’s intolerance and cruelty – all the elements that the writer experiences in her own life.

As the son transitions to become a daughter, all manner of emotions are conveyed through Yield. Claire Dyer is unafraid to express her sense of loss and grief as well as her sense of pride and intense love. Images of shattering, blood and pain reveal the ways she comes to terms with her child’s life and, although I don’t have a maternal element in my body, the final couple of lines of Bearded moved me to tears which I think is testament to the power of the writing. Similarly, the physical structure of the poems represents so magnificently the meaning conveyed. Fractured lines and words, the use of enjambment, compound adjectives alongside images of prosaic reality all show the swirling, sometimes difficult emotions Claire Dyer is feeling.

I confess to having read Yield several times and every time I have found new aspects to admire. I loved the way Easter Break, for example, unites male and female identities at a time we usually associate with death and rebirth. I have a feeling that Yield, taken with the first meaning Claire Dyer presents in her collection, will give up more and more, the more times I read it.

Yield is a magnificent anthology. It is a multi-layered, emotive and resonant presentation of what it means to be a mother. Reading Yield feels as if I have been given privileged access to the innermost thoughts and emotions of a hugely talented writer. I feel privileged to have read it.

About Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer

Claire Dyer’s novels The Moment and The Perfect Affair, and her short story, Falling For Gatsby, are published by Quercus. The Last Day is published by The Dome Press.

Her poetry collections, Interference Effects and Eleven Rooms are published by Two Rivers Press. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and teaches creative writing for Bracknell & Wokingham College.

She also runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service.

You can follow Claire on Twitter @ClaireDyer1 and visit her website. You’ll also find Claire on Facebook and Instagram.

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