Shani Cadwallender salutes magpies, keeps left, drinks pints, contains multitudes, and is comfortable writing about herself in the third person. Born in a house full of cats and raised in a town full of seagulls, she now lives in a city full of foxes, where she spends the day teaching about words in a high school, and the evening learning about them at Birkbeck College. She can be found hanging around the cemetery or under a tree in Gordon Square, eyes skywards. Among her compulsions are petting the dogs of strangers and writing poems, of which A Crow’s Diet is her first improper collection. She hopes you like it.
Shani Cadwallender has an eye and, just as importantly, a well-tuned ear for an image and there are striking examples of this ability throughout the chapbook. The dramatis personae may include ghosts, a mermaid, a fairy and a mesmerist, but the eye which subjects them to scrutiny is unremittingly modern and relevant. The affecting economy of style here is a strength, both the moment and the person emerging fully realised from the poetry, much as the poet herself emerges from this collection as a new and promising talent. – Tony Hill