Her Lost Language: Jenny Mitchell, Indigo Dreams

London-based poet and playwright Jenny Mitchell has had poems broadcast on Radio 4 and BBC2, and has conducted workshops in environments ranging from the Caribbean Women’s Writers Alliance, the NUT Black Teachers' Conference, the Clean Break Theatre Company and various summer literacy schools. Her poem ‘The Backslappers’ is used as a set text in secondary schools, and her debut collection Her Lost...

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Hokusai's Passion: John Sewell, Offa's Press

For me, poetry becomes much more interesting when it is multi-layered, comprising a coalescence of two or more seemingly different yet related subjects in which both poet and reader are left to make their own connections. Opportunities for invention are numerous and there is plenty of scope to disco...

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Let battle commence: Wendy Klein, Dempsey & Windle

Wendy Klein was born in the United States but has lived in England for many years. Her great-grandfather fought in the American Civil War, and was a slave-owner “whose beliefs could not have been more...

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The Wednesbury Mangle Theory: Marion Cockin, Offa's Press

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of the word ‘mangle’ in English dates from 1598 when John Florio, in his dictionary A World of Words described it as “a kind of press...

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The Blunted Axe: David Greygoose, Dreich

Followers of David Greygoose will know him from the medieval folk tales in his novel Brunt Boggart. As David Ward he has been the power behind the Liverpool Windows Project, supporting poetry in the c...

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Platinum Blonde: Phoebe Stuckes, Bloodaxe

Phoebe Stuckes is an award-winning poet, four times winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year award, former Barbican Young Poet and Ledbury poetry festival’s young poet in residence in 2015. She als...

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Herd Queen: Di Slaney, Valley Press

Poet, publisher and animal sanctuary founder Di Slaney has an MA in creative writing from Nottingham Trent University and owns Candlestick Press. Her debut pamphlet, Dad’s Slideshow, was published by ...

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The 3-D Clock: Stephen Claughton, Dempsey & Windle

This short collection of 16 poems is an often entertaining look at an otherwise extremely painful subject that has touched, or will touch, most of our lives. It is quite a feat to write amusing poems ...

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We Could Be Anywhere By Now: Katherine Stansfield, Seren

Novelist and poet Katherine Stansfield grew up in Cornwall and now lives in Cardiff. She teaches for the Open University and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

The poems in We Could Be Anywhere By No...

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Wild Persistence: Katrina Naomi, Seren

Prize-winning poet, translator and critic Katrina Naomi is the author of two previous full-length collections of poetry and four poetry pamphlets.  She has a PhD in creative writing from Goldsmiths an...

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Afternoon Music: Tom Harding, Palewell Press

This review copy landed on my doormat, and within a few minutes I was deep in it, reading one poem after another, unable to put it down. This doesn’t happen to me as often as perhaps it should.

Aft...

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Passport to Here and There: Grace Nichols, Bloodaxe

Grace Nichols was born in Guyana and has lived in Britain since 1977. Her first collection, I is a Long Memoried Woman (1983) won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. Since then she has had four collections...

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Return by Minor Road: Heidi Williamson, Bloodaxe

In her mid-20s, Heidi Williamson was part of a Scottish community that suffered an inconceivable tragedy, the Dunblane primary school shooting. On 13 March 1996 a gunman entered the school and killed ...

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Fledge: Jonathan Humble, Maytree Press

Jonathan Humble lives in Cumbria, and is an observant cheerleader for the natural world. This meticulously crafted collection is suffused with a love of nature, and of birds in particular. A number of...

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Lure: Alison Lock, Calder Valley Poetry

This collection of poems has been salvaged from the depths of a dramatic, near-fatal accident suffered by the poet Alison Lock three years ago, when she almost drowned and broke her back in seven plac...

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Negotiating Caponata: Carla Scarano D'Antonio, Dempsey & Windle

Carla Scarano D’Antonio grew up and studied in Rome, before moving to England and gaining an MA in creative writing at Lancaster University. She now lives in Surrey, contributing poetry and reviews to...

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Magnetic Field: Simon Armitage, Faber

As a poet reviewing someone else’s poetry, I am acutely aware of how interpretation can be a massively subjective undertaking and as such, possibly at odds with the intentions and motivations driving ...

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Visiting the Minotaur: Claire Williamson, Seren

Processing bereavement and progressing along the difficult path of recovering trauma are the excruciating steps that delineate Clare Williamson’s poetry. Her mother and brother committed suicide and s...

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'Just like a chat down the pub': Luke Wright takes a break - after 100 consecutive online shows

There were times during his 100 consecutive online shows when leading performance poet Luke Wright felt that he “desperately wanted it to end, that it’s all been too much”. Whether he meant lockdown i...

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Poems for the Planet: Mervyn Linford, Littoral Press

Mervyn Linford has been writing poetry and prose for nearly 50 years. He has had work broadcast on local and national radio and has been a featured poet at festivals in Essex and Suffolk. His publicat...

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CoronaVerses: ed. by Janine Booth, Attila the Stockbroker, Roundhead

Remember the start of this pandemic? The panic buying, the looting of toilet rolls? Seems a long time ago. Almost historic. On 18 March activist poet Janine Booth set up a Facebook group called Corona...

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192 Miles with Carla: Robbie Frazer, Dempsey & Windle

An intriguing poetic journey is delineated in 192 Miles with Carla, the debut pamphlet by Robbie Frazer. The 18 poems are unique and diverse and never banal in their imageries and structures. Skilful ...

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Review

Haggards: Elizabeth Rimmer, Red Squirrel Press

Elizabeth Rimmer is the author of two previous collections of poetry from Red Squirrel Press, Wherever We Live Now (2011) and The Territory of Rain (2015). In 2016 she was the Makar for the Federation...

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The Healing Next Time: 'This is poetry about an issue that should concern us all'

Last year Write Out Loud reviewed a collection by Midlands poet Roy McFarlane that we described as "a serious and determined attempt to document in poetry institutional and everyday racism in Britain"...

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Review

Grenade Genie: Thomas McColl, Fly on the Wall Press

Thomas McColl is engaging to meet, a quality that fully comes across in this collection of 25 poems that is deeply sceptical about the internet, kicks against the pricks of bureaucracy, and is laced w...

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Blood Rain: André Mangeot, Seren

I wonder how many of us can remember being taught about oxbow lakes in Geography? Reading the opening poem in this collection brought it all back to me. I can even recall the drawing that our teacher ...

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Litany of a Cardiologist: Denise Bundred, Against The Grain

This pamphlet of 23 poems represents the remarkable poetic distillation of a lifetime’s medical experiences and insights. Denise Bundred trained as a paediatrician in Cape Town and worked as a consult...

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Taking Flight: Aileen Ballantyne, Luath Press

The opening poem in this collection, ‘Full Moon’, should be regarded as an augury for a sequence later in the book. The poet is travelling on a Boeing 777:

 

     I touched my leather rucksack,

...

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thirty-one small acts of love and resistance: Steve Pottinger, Ignite Books

Steve Pottinger’s latest collection covers familiar territory for me. Three of the poems are centred on an incident at Wolverhampton Baths which is where I learned to swim and thereby gain sufficient ...

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From Surrey to Sale, via Wales and Belfast: online open-mic accesses all areas

Hands up who’s missing live, “real” poetry open-mics? How many have taken part in their online equivalents? I dipped my toe in the water last night, joining the fun at Sale Write Out Loud’s second onl...

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Review

These are the Hands: ed. by Deborah Alma and Dr Katie Amiel, Fair Acre Press

This anthology should be read at some time by all those who stand outside their homes on Thursday evenings clapping in support of NHS workers. Which is a lot of us. It wasn’t planned that way, but thi...

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A Second Whisper: Lynne Hjelmgaard, Seren

Poetry can surprise us in many different ways. Reading parts of this collection took me back just short of 50 years. When I was a student, I lived in a part of north London that was close to Golders G...

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Review

No Far Shore: Anne-Marie Fyfe, Seren

The secondary heading of this literary-travel memoir - a combination of prose and poetry - is ‘Charting Unknown Waters’. And although Anne-Marie Fyfe had no thought of viruses when putting together th...

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Luke Wright live in his living room ... but not in front of the children!

Every night since the lockdown leading performance poet Luke Wright has been appearing on Twitter in his living room at 8pm – and last night was his 13th show. And what a treat for those confined to t...

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Pigeon Songs: Eoghan Walls, Seren

Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, Eoghan Walls has lived and taught in Germany, Rwanda and England, where he now lectures in creative writing at Lancaster University. He won an Eric Gregory award in 20...

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Penn Fields: Neil Leadbeater, Littoral Press

This collection contains a number of poems about what you might call unfashionable subjects – Midlands industrialism, a flight of locks through Wolverhampton, other kinds of locks at a museum, half-in...

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Review

Crawling Out and Falling Up: Dónall Dempsey, Vole Books

Dónall Dempsey’s exuberant personality and imagination unfold throughout his latest collection. His poetry is inspired not just by romantic views or existential themes; clocks, baking, songs, animals,...

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Review

Doing the Rounds: Audrey Ardern-Jones, Indigo Dreams

The title of this debut collection refers in one sense to the poet’s career as a nurse specialising in cancer genetics. However, the cover of the book portrays a globe, and Audrey Ardern-Jones’s poems...

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Instead, Let Us Say: Dawn Gorman, Dempsey & Windle

Award-winning poet, arts practitioner and freelance editor Dawn Gorman strongly believes in poetry as a participatory and collaborative medium and devises and runs community poetry events that include...

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Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God: Tony Hoagland, Bloodaxe

The American poet Tony Hoagland died in 2018 aged 64. This Bloodaxe collection can serve as an introduction for those previously unaware of him, and should leave them wanting to read more of his work....

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Review

Anthology of Prose Poetry: eds. Anne Caldwell, Oz Hardwick, Valley Press

Despite what it says on the back cover, prose poetry is hardly at the cutting edge of contemporary writing. As the editors point out in their helpful introduction, it has a history that goes back to t...

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Review

The Shadow Factory: Deborah Harvey, Indigo Dreams

Deborah Harvey’s fourth collection is very readable and accessible, augmented by notes at the back of the book. She has taken a range of themes, from ‘The Good Dogs of Chernobyl’, the first poem, to g...

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Review

The Last Parent: Anne Stewart, Second Light

Bereavement, loss and love interweave in Anne Stewart’s latest collection. Her sequence ‘The Last Parent’, 31 poems that make half of the collection, stands out for its insights into  the process of m...

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Review

Sodium 136: Carole Bromley, Calder Valley Poetry

Carole Bromley’s Sodium 136 is her account of being diagnosed and treated for ‘A Benign Cyst Pressing on Optic Nerve’. This is the title of the first poem in this collection, in which we’re thrown str...

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Review

Reel to Reel: David Cooke, Dempsey & Windle

A sequence of poems about the Grimsby fishing industry, from its boom years to its washed-up present, forms the admirable centrepiece of this collection. David Cooke, who lived and worked in Grimsby f...

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