As a much admired poet, writer and dancer, Tishani Doshi leaves little of the arts world untouched. Countries of the Body was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection while Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. From politics, womanhood to the roots that ground us, this is a journey that the reader is rewarded with…
If there could ever be the right – the only – title for this poetry collection, then Lamping for Pickled Fish might be it, setting the reader up as it so neatly does for the illicit, for the hidden and obscure and for journeys into unexpected spaces. … McDonough is a forager, avid in pursuit of the wild jewels of shoreline and hedgerow in her native north-east Scotland and a maker. A maker of jam, from Ronnie’s stolen rhubarb; of soused herring in the title poem; of a young adult from a toddler; and, effortlessly, of words from other words.
Ruth Aylett’s first solo pamphlet exemplifies just what thematic poetry collections make possible. Pretty in Pink examines facets of girl and womanhood, and the pressures to conform to, internalise and perform ideals of femininity, through different lenses of time, geography, class and culture.
The M Pages opens with ‘Death of an Actress’, a poem layered with literary references, and heavy with a clever litany of clichés, both witty and poignant. That wit is intrinsic to these poems. Throughout tragic, shocking and sombre passages, Bryce’s fun with wordplay, and her tumbling rhyme never diminish, akin to the irreverent gallows humour which needfully so often accompanies mourning.
Did I say I was never a victim? […] I helped him with good grace and inside I knew every complication I learned to lie and it was barefaced on my lies they built a civilisation (‘Odysseus welcomed from the sea by Nausicaa’) Poet, and significantly translator, Sasha Dugdale’s fourth collection, Deformations, takes two important, Read More
‘The words […] a line of curses, promises, demands, wishes, intoxicants and offerings […] sets all the prayers in the house to glint.’ (From ‘Vespers’, All The Prayers In The House, Miriam Nash). Having grown up in the Catholic faith, courted by pictures and other icons of the tradition (usually from a shrine shop in Read More
The Air Year is Caroline Bird’s sixth collection with Carcanet. Her most recent and highly successful, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. Bird, who published her first collection at the age of 15, displays an astonishing talent and a unique ‘voice’, and is Read More
One may be surprised to discover that Shine, Darling is Ella Frears’ debut poetry collection. Frears presents an unapologetic front through her straightforward style, favouring lyric poetry as her medium. There is a raw intimacy to perform these experiences, whether it be a near-abduction, a suicide when she was in college, or having sex on Read More
Sitting outside in a motorway cafe on a cool August evening after the mizzling rain, Kirsty Gunn and I talked intensely (as we do) about a novel we had difficulties with. Many of our exchanges were underpinned by the question: how does form and genre enable writing to tackle its subject matter successfully? Will Harris’ Read More
The way we are forced to work around the pandemic unfortunately applies to the launching of poetry publications also; as Rachel Long’s My Darling from the Lions was published at the start of August, chances for public appearances, speaking and promoting her work are all but whipped away. The publication must speak for itself. Long Read More