Three definitions of the word Yield give meaning to the odyssey undergone in Claire Dyer’s 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.
‘In a leaping salmon “waterfall” of a collection, poems flash into the light or plunge to the deeps as the writer faces, with power and honesty, her daughter’s transitioning.’ Richard Palmer, South 64
‘In this collection … Dyer reveals great observations of a crucial moment in her life that touched her profoundly and challenged all her certainties … her observations propose a restoration and renewal that relieved her of her grief and pain. Her experience is described in skilful and honest lines that recall the process of reaffirming the progression of love and family ties.’ ~ Carla Scarano, for London Grip
‘The actual things of the world are everywhere in Claire Dyer’s Yield – thick socks, Glenfiddich, bathrobes, Swarfega, Swedish Meatball Wraps – and in the spaces between move families, friends, lovers, their interrelations astutely picked out as the unsaid is made solid. But such rooted settings don’t prevent flight. Any poet who can end a poem with the lines “the bones in its spine small white discs of” or “Fuck the gob-lin. Rock it” has earned the right to our attention.’ ~ Matthew Caley
‘There is so much that is uncompromising in Claire Dyer’s poems: the cruel precision of each word, line and image, and the sharply perfect intelligence of every metaphor and conceit. And yet Yield is a warm embrace of a book. A chronicle of love, generosity and ethics, Yield is a restorative piece of writing – a solace.’ ~ Kathryn Maris
‘Claire Dyer’s deft use of form comes into its own in the understated poems of Yield, at once lyrical, subtle, oblique, risky, suggestive and heart-wrenching. I can’t think of any other contemporary poet who could deal so tenderly with the wondrous yet traumatic gender change of one of her children.’ ~ Rosie Jackson, The High Window, Summer 2021
‘There were times I related to this book so completely, I almost felt as if it had been me writing it; a precious feeling a reader can experience when a book gets right down to the hidden depths of human experience and reaches out to you from it.’ ~ Louisa Campbell. A full copy of her review can be found here.
‘Powerful, poignant, sometimes raw. But always beautiful.’ ~ Gill Mann, author of A Song Inside
For other reviews, please see the Reviews page in News and Reviews.
Claire has Lucy’s permission to refer to her by her old name, gender, status and pronoun where appropriate, and her full support for the book.
Am so grateful to Write Out Loud for this Q&A about ‘Yield’ and for this review: ‘This is an important collection that may well provide guidance, help and comfort to others in similar situations. But these are also poems that satisfy on their own terms, exemplifying Dyer’s craft and skill. At no time on this emotional journey, as her son Liam becomes her daughter Lucy, does she lose her grip as a poet.’
For more information on the art of Peter Hay (as seen on the cover) please visit JJ Eatherly’s online exhibition here.
Thank you to Bill Buckley on BBC Radio Berkshire for interviewing me about the book on Friday 22nd January.
Please see below for an interview I did with author, Gill Mann, for some more information on the book: