A Map Towards Fluency: Lisa Kelly, Carcanet

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Walter Benjamin said that “Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed; an architectural one, where it is constructed; and a textile one, where it is woven” and it’s that final word, “woven”, that I can’t stop thinking about as I read Lisa Kelly’s work. Her debut collection is a fine fabric shop displaying the most wonderful array of fabric weight,...

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Humanagerie: ed. by Sarah Doyle and Allen Ashley, Eibonvale

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The borderland between humans and animals has been a source of fascination for writers down the ages. Think of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, the lycanthropy of Ferdinand in Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi or, in Celtic mythology, the idea that butterflies are the souls of the departed. The writers rep...

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Bunty, I Miss You!: Heather Moulson, Dempsey & Windle

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Heather Moulson is a spoken word poet like no other. Her poems of adolescent reminiscences catalogue the slights and affronts she received as a teenager, her reality behind the romantic tales of the g...

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In Her Shambles: Elizabeth Parker, Seren

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Elizabeth Parker grew up in the Forest of Dean, and currently lives on the harbour in Bristol. She has a BA in English literature and creative writing, and an MA in mythology. She has published a poet...

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Let's hear it as spoken word reclaims the stage: poet launches book on its rebirth

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Spoken word is no longer “underground” or “emerging” … if you look at the sweep of history and poetry’s oral tradition , it’s page/written poetry that is the aberration … Kate Tempest draws a bigger a...

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Lunar: Keisha Thompson, Cultureword

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Keisha Thompson is known as a poet with a charismatic performance profile and an intellectual passion for maths. Her show Man on the Moon has won the Manchester Theatre award for best studio productio...

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September: Cherry Doyle, Offa's Press

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Cherry Doyle, who recently completed a BA in creative writing with the Open University, is one of the co-ordinators of Blakenhall Writers’ Group based in Wolverhampton. Born in Shrewsbury, she now liv...

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LZRD: Alyson Hallet and Penelope Shuttle, Indigo Dreams

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LZRD is a title that is notable for its absence of vowels. The human brain, so used to recognising words, quickly fills in the blanks. In the poem of the same name, Lzrd is described as a “squeezer of...

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Review

The Quality of Mersey, edited by Barry Woods

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Knowing your place is all the rage these days; just look at the well-deserved success of the current Places of Poetry map. (And if you haven’t already posted a poem or two up there, make sure you do s...

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London Undercurrents: Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire, Holland Park Press

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London Undercurrents is the product of five years of in-depth research, part-funded by an Arts Council Grant, by two poets, Joolz Sparkes and Hilaire, into the long-forgotten histories of London’s uns...

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Landings: Richard Williams, Dempsey & Windle

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It takes a brave poet to open a collection with two poems that both mention stationery. After all, it’s not at first glance the most poetic of subjects. But then, think of “so many words still to be u...

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Family Likeness: Michael Curtis, Cultured Llama

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Michael Curtis grew up in Liverpool, attended Oxford and Sheffield universities, worked in library and cultural services and events management and now lives in Kent. His work has been published widely...

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Many Skies Have Fallen: Maggie Sawkins, Wild Mouse Press

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This collection contains lyrical and evocative poems that were written as a response to the death of a young man who drowned in Ireland’s river Shannon. Janusz Jasicki was the partner of the daughter ...

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The music of time: Roger McGough still welcomes us all into poetry's big tent

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Time was when Roger McGough was regarded as one of the voices of a new poetry generation. As one of the Liverpool Poets, with Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, he encouraged thousands to have the confide...

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Of Course, the Yellow Cab: Ken Champion, The High Window

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Ken Champion is a poet, novelist and critic whose work has been published widely both at home and abroad. His publications include three full collections of poetry, a volume of short stories, two nove...

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Going to bed with the moon: Jenny Hockey, Oversteps

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In my copy of Going to bed with the moon Jenny Hockey has written: “Hope you enjoy some of these – a few new faces of death included.” Hockey is a retired sociology professor from Sheffield. Her speci...

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Negative of a Group Photograph: Azita Ghahreman, trans. Maura Dooley, Bloodaxe

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This is a rich selection of poems from five books written over the last 40 years by the Iranian poet Azita Ghahreman, and translated into English by Maura Dooley with the help of the filmmaker Ellum S...

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Difficult Women: Nicola Jackson, Indigo Dreams

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The absorbing poetry of Nicola Jackson in this collection, which jointly won the 2017 Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize, grips the reader’s attention with its strong commitment to the feminist cause and th...

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Amoretti: Paul AW Sutherland, Dempsey & Windle

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It was the title that drew me: Amoretti, the name of a sequence of sonnets written by Edmund Spenser to the woman who would become his second wife. It was published, like so many other sonnet sequence...

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I Meet Myself Returning: John Darwin, Flapjack Press

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I first met and heard John Darwin at a Write Out Loud night in Hebden Bridge in 2010, and knew at once that he was an accomplished and interesting poet. Since then he has been the organiser at Write O...

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Counting Backwards: Helen Dunmore, Bloodaxe

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It is tempting to reiterate that Helen Dunmore was a poet first and last, both metaphorically and chronologically, but this would be to see prose and poetry as rigidly separate. To me her poetry alway...

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become something frail: Stuart Buck, Selcouth Station Press

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Stuart Buck is possessed of an astonishing imagination coupled with an enviable ability to birth fully-formed poems of unique, musical, and mind-bending originality. become something frail is his seco...

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Review

The Soil Never Sleeps: Adam Horovitz, Palewell Press

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How much use is a poet down on the farm? Adam Horovitz was invited by the Pasture-led Livestock Association to be their poet in residence for a year, which involved staying on four of their farms – in...

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So the Sky: Valerie Lynch, Dempsey & Windle

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Valerie Lynch, who is aged 90, was born in Hertfordshire, but spent many childhood holidays visiting Dorset relatives. Although she has been writing poetry all her life and has had poems published in ...

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Alice in Winterland: Julie Egdell, Smokestack

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My favourite version of Lewis Carroll’s best known work, the psychedelic fairytale ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ is not the slightly saccharine (but still endlessly strange) Disney version, nor t...

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Messages Written on Envelope Backs: Ayelet McKenzie, Dempsey & Windle

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Ayelet McKenzie has lived in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, for 32 years. She has published two pamphlet collections, and two previous full collections, The Patient is Disappointing and Courting the Asyl...

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Sense Me: Annum Salman, AuthorHouse

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A well-informed article recently published by the Guardian discussed poetry’s wind of change over the last few years, and mentioned young poets such as Rupi Kaur, whose bestselling works can be found ...

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Husbands for Breakfast: Trisha Broomfield, Dempsey & Windle

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Trisha Broomfield was born in Lincolnshire, grew up in Australia and now lives in Surrey.  As well as poetry, she’s a writer of short stories and unfinished crime novels. Husbands for Breakfast is her...

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Anatomy of a Whale: Matt Barnard, Onslaught Press

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Matt Barnard’s Anatomy of a Whale is disarmingly accessible and at times startlingly original. He explores the underside of the ordinary and aspects of the familiar that are best seen by looking sidel...

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The Weather in Normal: Carrie Etter, Seren

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Carrie Etter is one of the few writers who, when I hear she has a new book coming out, I get all excited about because I know it’s not going to disappoint. Her last book, Imagined Sons, was a series o...

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Review

This Phantom Breath: Henry Normal, Flapjack

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The cover of Henry Normal’s collection The Department of Lost Wishes features a youthful poet in a garish jacket and a huge badge that asks “Are we having fun yet?”. The answer from me is a resounding...

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Review

The Healing Next Time: Roy McFarlane, Nine Arches Press

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Roy McFarlane’s second collection, published during Black History Month last year, is a serious and determined attempt to document in poetry institutional and everyday racism in Britain. There is ange...

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Blackbird, Bye Bye: Moniza Alvi, Bloodaxe

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Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire. After working for many years as a secondary school teacher in London, she is now a freelance writer and tutor, and lives in Wymondham, No...

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The Best of a Bad Situation: Jamie Thrasivoulou, Silhouette Press

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In performance Jamie Thrasivoulou has a sten gun delivery. It is the rhythmical bang, bang, bang of the best of ranters’ performance poetry, laying audiences to waste with a voice that is described as...

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Elastic Man: Paul McGrane, Indigo Dreams

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Paul McGrane’s debut collection is an enjoyable glimpse into the mind of a man whose tastes, formed in the last decades of the 20th century, will chime with those of many readers today. His title ackn...

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Where the road runs out: Gaia Holmes, Comma Press

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Gaia Holmes is a Halifax-based poet and creative writing tutor who has previously made a living as a busker, a cleaner, a gallery attendant, an oral historian, and a lollipop lady. The first section o...

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Five Views of Mount Fuji: Myra Schneider, Fisherrrow Press

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Myra Schneider was born in 1936, and grew up in Scotland, London, and Sussex. She has published a number of poetry collections, writes essays and reviews for literary magazines, and has co-edited anth...

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Tutti Frutti: Konstandinos Mahoney, SPM

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A skilled observer, Konstandinos Mahoney communicates his enthusiasm for life and language in every poem of Tutti Frutti, his honest, warm and perceptive first collection, which was second prize winne...

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Review

The Wear and Tear of Conversation: Charlotte Harker, Dempsey & Windle

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Charlotte Harker’s The Wear and Tear of Conversation is an ironic and humorous account of the interactions between the self and its surroundings. The transgender poet and artist deals with depression ...

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