Beyond the Gate

Beyond the Gate
by Clare Best

Beyond the Gate is rooted in a woman’s right to walk through streets and forests, through her own story. Clare Best plays compelling, original games with form. Her voice is fired by precision and observation, seared with a questioning wit.

– Robert Hamberger

Shifting between the intimacy of the domestic space and a deep connection with the natural world, Best shows us beauty laced with danger, darkness, flashes of fear. This exploration of love and loss considers how we hold and carry our memories, how far ahead we dare to look.

– Rebecca Goss

Clare Best writes with scruple and clarity, listening always for the unsaid and the unsayable, watching for the passage of flame into darkness.

– Michael Hulse


“warmly intelligent, questioning collection” with “luminosity and moments of playful beauty. […] Best has united a wide range of poems with care and tact, in a way that seems to me in itself musical, so that the whole collection plays out its themes across the five inter-connected parts. […] Throughout the collection, Best is in conversation with nature. Country life, its people and history are present in almost all the poems. There are moments of pure delight.” – Alex Josephy, read the full review at London Grip

“Throughout this rich collection the poet walks the line between physical and spiritual. […] Part of what makes Clare Best’s poetry evocative is the observational precision she brings to bear – whether to her old, familiar, chalkland Sussex landscape or her newer adopted flatlands of Suffolk. She writes great ‘nature’ poetry. And something pronouncedly different. […] Her unifying themes – of nature and love and loss and consolation – reverberate throughout the book as we walk for a spell with this keenly-observant and deeply-informed poet.” – Charlotte Gann, read the full review at The Friday Poem.

“I had the sense that I, too, was on a walk, and these poems mirrored my own mental process when out doing so, anchoring me into the countryside at first but then, as I progressed, plumbing me in towards memories and recollections. […] excellent, intelligent use of form. […] [The poems] possess an in-the-moment, immediate quality that’s vital, vivid, refreshing, and very appealing.[…] finely written, deeply affecting poems.” – Mab Jones, Poetry Wales 59.3 2024

“Best’s language is resonant and precise […] Strong rhythms propel visual details and echoing sounds with generous spacings for pause and reflection, within lines and between sections. Music and Art infuse this gorgeous collection.” – Pam Thompson, Orbis


Planet Poetry: Clare Best in conversation with Peter Kenny

The Poetry Bath: Part 1 of a conversation between Clare Best and Sian Thomas.

The Poetry Bath: Part 2 of a conversation between Clare Best and Sian Thomas

Some Things are Hard to Talk About – a reading and conversation with Helena Nelson

Published: 1 June 2023
ISBN: 9781905208500
Pages: 88
Price: £12.00

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Biography: Clare Best