Villanelles: ed. Annie Finch, Marie-Elizabeth Mali: Everyman
On a recent edition of Desert Island Discs, castaway Tidjane Thiam (chief executive of Prudential) chose to take Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov with him into his eponymous lonely, hot and sandy vigil, eloquently describing how the novel had accompanied him through dark times in his life. He knew from experience, Mr. Thiam said, that this was a book that kept you company when you we...
20th November 2012
Work Horses: David Cooke
David Cooke won acclaim with a Gregory award in his youth, before decades of immersion in teaching almost extinguished his poetry. He left education to set up as an online bookseller, and the poems sparked into life again. First came last year’s retrospective collection, In The Distance, and now ...
8th November 2012
All the way from Kathmandu - Selected Jazz Poems: John Clarke
I once saw John Clarke perform in Greenwich. He represents an exotic minority of performance poets who conceive their poems in a mindset earthed in jazz and blues. The poems are not lyrics in a con...
29th October 2012
Marsden's poetry jam: exuberant, embracing, cyclists not excluded
Let me put my cards on the table, as a southerner who is in love with the north. It was the first time I had visited Marsden, and I’m afraid to say that as a result I no longer consider Hebden Brid...
18th October 2012
The Robin Hood Book: ed. by Alan Morrison and Angela Topping
This is a big, important book, coming at a time when the national inclination is to boo George Osborne, to his great astonishment, at the Paralympic Games. Its rallying point is the campaign for a ...
11th September 2012
Libra: Kevin Mills, Cinnamon Press
I've read many books from this publisher, and this one further confirms my feeling that the editorial policy claims of Cinnamon to being “independent”, “innovative”, and international' are not with...
1st September 2012
A Complicated Way of Being Ignored, ed. Michael Stewart
The problem with subtitles like “The Grist anthology of the best poetry of 2012”, is that they set up expectations that may well not be met. The critic, like myself, brings out his “I’ll be the jud...
12th August 2012
Climbing Postcards: Judy Kendall
Judy Kendall is a widely acclaimed poet and translator, with two previously published collections under her belt. Having previously taught at the University of Gloucestershire, and spent seven yea...
4th August 2012
Stage to page - does it work? Slinky Espadrilles, by Ash Dickinson
What do you do, when you review
A poetry book that disperses
written verses, meant to be read
out loud to a crowd,
who use their ears to catch
a snatch of orally-uttered words,...
16th June 2012
Sissay sold short in Scribble celebration?
I can think of no finer place to celebrate the poetic outcomes of community writing projects than Oldham Library, not just because of its contribution to the existence and direction of Write Out Lo...
1st June 2012
Live Poetry: An Integrated Approach to Poetry in Performance by Julia Novak
This is a cracking book, especially for anyone wanting to understand this movement, this growing, UK-wide phenomenon of people getting together to read poems to each other, in open-mic, spoken word...
31st May 2012
The Heart and the Subsidiary: Fatima Al Matar
A formidable intelligence roars through these poems, published by AuthorHouse, with a tenacious grasp of the idea that the smallest thing contributes to the whole. Or, perhaps, that no thing in our...
11th May 2012
Dominic Berry's Wizard: When the world comes knocking at the door
Dominic Berry’s poetry-fantasy-theatre extravaganza Wizard, seen at the Cockpit theatre in north London, is a cri de coeur on behalf of those who need to weave spells to make sense of the world abo...
11th May 2012
Call of the wild at Cheltenham poetry festival
A smallish room with bare walls up a steep flight of stairs, with only a single potted plant provided by the poet might be considered an inauspicious setting for a session on nature poetry. But Mat...
27th April 2012
Full Blood: John Siddique
One is reminded at times, in reading Full Blood, published by Salt, that a poet can have multiple voices – and that some styles within a single poet’s oeuvre can work very differently than others. ...
25th March 2012