“In her debut collection of poetry, acclaimed writer Tania Hershman reveals the strange intricacies of science and our daily lives. Here, we find a cabinet of curiosities: Elvis and Marilyn, fire ants, cake and wind turbines. Hershman gifts the reader with collisions of grief and laughter, joy and curiosity. A wonder.” Doireann Ní Ghríofa, author of Clasp and Oighear and winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.
“‘Happiness’ as one of Tania Hershman’s distilled, perfectly clear poems has it, ‘is paint’ – both a single lamina and a colourful richness. The ‘Terms and Conditions’ of her new collection’s title are those we live under, whether we want to or not, as we find ourselves poised or abandoned between each other, between nights and mornings, home and far away.
These are poems that examine the rocking point between loneliness and being alone, between a question and its answer, and their inhabitants can correspondingly be individuals or, perhaps, just categories – parent, lover, friend. One poem runs forward then backwards, or is it backwards then forwards? Another’s caesurae equate to the space in the middle of a bed. We find we are as touched by a Monet painting as we are by the fate of a gasometer.
These poems are emphatically not, however, describing that old post-modern hollowness – this feels persuasively like the actual distance between us. Tania Hershman’s work is full of brilliant and passionate observations on dreams, falling, names and dancing, they are moving, loving meditations on how we move and love, what it feels like to be alive.”
W. N. Herbert, author of Murder Bear.
“There is a plentitude and a loss to Tania Hershman’s Terms & Conditions. A plentitude of tones and forms and linguistic playfulness, and a fine sense of loss that spins and passes through the poems like the neutrinos she mentions in ‘Undetected’. I love the collision of the personal and the scientific in this book, the way that the large and small events of life dance a quantum quadrille with language in the light received and emitted by the writer’s mind. There’s a memorable prose poem – in which a cow grazes peacefully around one of the many World War One craters that pock the earth around Ypres – that hints at themes of catastrophe and recovery, the risks and the rewards of oblivion. There are many more striking juxtapositions and surprises to explore in this absorbing, amusing, and moving new collection.”
Simon Barraclough, author of Sunspots
“Tania Hershman’s poems emphasise the humanity and paradox in our civilization of technology and absolutes. Like the airline pilot who wipes down the cockpit window, Hershman endeavours to see, as clearly as possible, the terrain that lies ahead. Manoeuvring easily between prose and verse, Hershman is herself the steadiest of pilots, possessing skill, instinct, integrity and nerve. And though she takes artistic and intellectual risks, she invariably lands the poems safely. This is a sophisticated debut collection by a writer already well known for her inventive short stories.”
Kathryn Maris, author of God Loves You.
May 2020: A great and thoughtful review by Stella Backhaus in the new issue of Here Comes Everyone magazine: “in a world turned so vertiginously upside down by something almost no one saw coming, a collection that explores the blurry interface between what we know and what we don’t must surely acquire new relevance. Read the full review here: >>
Oliver Mantell reviews the book in The North print magazine, Summer 2018: “The poem’s closing invocation of ‘the necessity of kindness’ touches on one of the reasons this book is such a pleasure to read: alongside the alert curiosity and restless variations, there’s straight-forwardness, humility and interest in other people which was all the more refreshing in the context of the other two collections. There have been many news stories recently that have shown the importance of paying attention to Terms and Conditions: the same is true here, but this collection is thankfully far more enjoyable to read …”
Over at Rogue Strands, Matthew Stewart writes: “Tania Hershman’s first full collection is characterised by the deft way she works through her relationship with life, always implicating and involving the reader in that process. By acknowledging that life is packed with tensions and opposites, by accepting and embracing their juxtaposition and coexistence, she’s able to renegotiate her own terms and conditions.”
Bidisha has written a lovely article, ‘Where the poems begin‘, about my writing, my new books and my London July book launch for the Times Literary Supplement: “Whether in prose or free verse, Hershman’s writing combines a clear style and witty observations with sinister, often symbolic plot developments. She is a master of the very short story, presenting swift action and an eerie undertow with lightness and emotional precision; the work feels roomy, never compressed.” You can read the full article here.
Peter Raynard reviews ‘Terms and Conditions’ on the Poetry School blog, calling it “a tightly conceived, perfectly formed set of poignant poems that question modern day (virtual) reality”. Read the full review here >>
At London Grip, James Roderick Burns has reviewed my poetry collection, saying “While it is easy to find the qualities of ‘traditional’ poetry here – Hershman’s natural lyricism abounds…” and calling the collection a “a tour de force of uncertainty, explored.” Read the full review here.
In the Jewish Chronicle, Peter Lawson gives my poetry collection a shout-out in the Books pages: “Particle physics has expanded the bounds of poetic possibility. Terms and Conditions features such imaginative delights amid its whimsical verse.” Read more here.
Mslexia’s review says: “Tania Hershman’s debut poetry collection is a natural linguistic and stylistic progression from her scientific journalism and short fiction writing. There is so much to appreciate and discuss here (with each and every poem). It is elegantly, economically and carefully written; nothing is superfluous and the strong imagery, lyricism, syntax, and metaphorical language work deep within the poems, unpacking meaning and sound with ease.”
In Bookmunch, Jackie Law calls the collection “a veritable feast… This entire work, the author’s debut poetry collection, pulses emotion, speaking softly, powerfully in the silences after reading. The poems explore existence, love and ‘the uncertain business of our daily lives’.” – read the full review here.