Shortlisted for the 2008 South Australian Festival Awards for Literature, John Bray Prize. Judges’ comments:
‘This is an exceptional first book. Clare Gaskin’s poetry is eloquent and attentive, bright with striking and precise images, yet has a darker undercurrent acknowledging absence and pain. She writes, often obliquely, of the elemental and the transient – children, flowers, cats, clouds, rain, birds, dreams, leaves and wind. Her spare, disciplined structures stringently contain and intensify the emotions evoked, and her sculpted style can make of a poem an almost tangible object of beauty.’
From Gig Ryan, Australian Book Review, March 2007, p.64:
‘In Gaskin’s long-awaited, first substantial book . . . [is] a partly surrealist mysticism, where observation precedes meaning – “the flywire cuts the sky into tiny squares. // in answer to your question there is none. // in answer to the fall is the ground”. . . Gaskin’s poems replicate the slipperiness of sensation and feeling, rarely with any overt continuous commentary; rather, they are often pointillist tics of images, often metaphor, forming matter as they progress . . . . A Bud is shaped around repeated talismanic words, particularly “earth”, “air-wind-breath”, “fire-flame”, “water-river”, and many images and words repeat in different poems to create a reflexive continuity from these basic elements.’
From Chris Grierson, Readings Monthly, December 2006, p.5:
‘Book of the year? Poetry of course! Claire Gaskin’s A Bud. I’ve always held the view that her imagist poetry is some of the finest writing in this country full-stop. Like haiku at its best, it’s beautiful, skewed and chillingly spare.’
From Gregory A Gould, Text Journal, October 2008, www.textjournal.com.au:
Written in a sparse, yet poignant style, Gaskin’s poems do not hide behind language. In fact they celebrate it. Gaskin’s poems breathe. [Her] bare-bones approach has the ability to stop time. Meaning can be boiled down to a series of everyday objects that, upon reflection, have always held some sort of secret significance.