Victoria Adukwei Bulley’s Quiet engages with the ordinary and extra-ordinary lives of black women in ways that are life-enhancing but which also doesn’t duck the tragedies of discrimination and social injustices. In seeking an imaginative sanctum that isn’t hostage to how black people are violated, othered or marginalised, Quiet undertakes a difficult balancing act.
England’s Green is Zaffar Kunial’s second poetry collection. Everything about England in our cultural subconscious is intimated beautifully in these two words; the reader knows intuitively that within these pages there will be a world of exploration on that theme. Kunial’s previous collection, ‘Us’, was shortlisted for many poetry prizes, and was highly praised for its ‘ability to find meaning and symbolism in the hearth and home’. This collection undoubtedly sustains that investigation into the meaning of ‘home’.
I picked up this title initially because I still blanche whenever my daughter shows me her new tattoos; but I also heard Helen Mort’s very interesting exchange with Lou Hopper about ‘getting inked’ on Radio 4’s One to One in February last year. Mort is, of course, an award-winning poet that is based in Sheffield and whose interests take in an astonishing range–mountain climbing, trail running, northern cites, conflict and motherhood—all handled with a sure and delicate lyricism, and a poet’s ear for the cadence and fall of the line. So The Illustrated Woman promised much.
In her second full-length poetry collection, Claire Askew searches for security and self-assurance within a heavily patriarchal world where institutional power reigns over individuals. Here is fiery free verse that captures beautifully the uneven forces of female empowerment and misogyny. The resolution to this tension is searched for through deftly poetic explorations of dysfunctional relationships, exploitation of the natural world, and interpretations of Salem witch trials.
If it is true that there’s nothing new under the sun, then Harry Josephine Giles has the ability to create an utterly convincing mirage of originality by crashing old ideas into each other. Whatever you think of Deep Wheel Orcadia, it would be difficult to argue that this work could have come from a mind other than theirs.
Second Memory, a collaborative creative non-fiction pamphlet written by Pratyusha and Alycia Pirmohamed, guides you through this luminous corridor on a journey that not only traces their ancestral histories but also invites you to peer into their stories, and see yourself in them….
For me, writing poetry demands different parts of my resources, whether it is my feelings, my energy, my brain, my ego, my sense of self, or my sense of audience. But I’m probably at my happiest when I’m writing a poem. The process is what excites me the most, and when I’m done, it feels quite removed from me. I’m not reluctant to send it out, which I think some poets are – they fear rejection. I think having been an actress helps. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s not going to kill me. I’m quite pragmatic; I see it as just another part of the process.
While A Map Towards Fluency might be Kelly’s first poetry collection, it shows an impressive imagination and originality. The poet is both partly deaf and partly Danish, though entirely unable to understand her mother’s native tongue, and she has incorporated both of these aspects of her life into her poetry, which focuses on the power of words and the idea of fluency.
‘Antlers of Water’—the phrase is MacCaig’s—and for several reasons it’s an apt title for this new anthology of ‘Writing on the Nature and Environment of Scotland’. That craggy map. A land that is as much water, as land. Those antlers, perfectly seen by the poet, delve deeply into what it is to live in Scotland. Read More
It would be easiest to describe Anthony Anaxagorou’s debut collection, After the Formalities, as one that deals with Big Issues. Racism, immigration, and trauma all feature large here. Add to this, as per the publisher’s blurb, ‘tracking the male body’, ‘the threat of violence’, and ‘global histories’. These are all appropriate things to write about, Read More