The Hopeful Hat is a posthumous collection from a poet whose work is informed by her keen eye for social injustice and, equally, by the breadth of her compassion.
Poignantly, these late poems are also Satyamurti's nuanced poetic response to having her voice box removed following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. Clear-eyed in the face of her own mortality, she produced a series of courageous poems that are, as Carol Ann Duffy said of her work, 'laced with the hard stuff'. They are also graced with Satyamurti's unique and subtle wit.
Carole Satyamurti was preparing these poems for publication at the time of her death, and left the manuscript in an advanced state of readiness. The sequencing of the poems, and the sections they are grouped in, had already been decided by her.
Carole Satyamurti (1939-2019) was a poet, translator and sociologist. For many years she taught at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where her main academic interest was in the relevance of psychoanalytic ideas to an understanding of the stories people tell about themselves. She co-edited Acquainted with the Night: psychoanalysis and the poetic imagination (2003). Her retrospective, Stitching the Dark: New & Selected Poems (2005) drew on five previous collections, two of which were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Her translation, Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling (W.W. Norton, 2015), was joint winner of the inaugural Roehampton Poetry Prize.