Penn Fields: Neil Leadbeater, Littoral Press

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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-inched tools from the jewellery trade, a description of Dudley as the “Venice of the Midlands”. These kind of poems are just up my street. I once found myself on a boat that got stuck in a canal tunnel ...

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Crawling Out and Falling Up: Dónall Dempsey, Vole Books

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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, nature, as well as family, love and death, can all be the subject of poetry. His poetry is in const...

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Doing the Rounds: Audrey Ardern-Jones, Indigo Dreams

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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

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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

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

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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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The Shadow Factory: Deborah Harvey, Indigo Dreams

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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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The Last Parent: Anne Stewart, Second Light

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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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Sodium 136: Carole Bromley, Calder Valley Poetry

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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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Reel to Reel: David Cooke, Dempsey & Windle

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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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