Pascale Petit (b. 1953, Paris) was converted to poetry aged 16, when her teacher recited Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’. Her subsequent years as a sculptor and artist allowed her to develop connections between poetry and the visual and tactile, but her aim remained the same: like Keats, ‘to create a forest the reader could walk into and see and hear even in the dark’.
Tiger Girl is a departure for Petit; her imaginative landscapes have shifted from the Amazon rainforest which characterised earlier collections including Fauverie and Mama Amazonica to the forests of Ranthambhore in Rajasthan, near her grandmother’s birthplace, beautiful and full of life but threatened by poaching, deforestation and climate change. She draws attention to ‘how our endangered wild is endangering all life on the planet including ourselves’, while leaving room for a sense of awe and astonishment: ‘how can we destroy such wonders?’
Photo credit: Brian Fraser