The working poet is required to remain on duty, ready for the moment when they are inspired or moved to write. In the case of Yomi Sode, this role is more proactive, requiring the poet to actively sift the airwaves and social media in search of those who wish to ignore, belittle or simply redact the spoken and written experience of black lives. This is a draining but necessary responsibility, and one which Yomi Sode takes seriously in his collection Manorism in which he rails against the slave trade, white privilege, the scandal of Grenfell and Police brutality.
If the title Ephemeron conjures insignificant transience, that would be a misreading. Fiona Benson’s most recent collection examines the fragile, the momentary, the nearly unseen, all of which merit observation, understanding, and a permanent record.
Divided into four parts with seemingly disparate subject-matter, ‘Insect Love Songs’, ‘Boarding-School Tales’, ‘Translations from the Pasiphaë’ and ‘Daughter Mother’, the poet uncovers interconnections between them. The subtlety of that structuring and sequencing feat is remarkable.
Dundee Rep TheatreUntil 31st Dec 2022 It is impossible to look at some fairy tales and not see them through the lens Disney has placed on them. And Cinderella is one of those fairy tales one simply can’t get away from. We see forms of it everywhere, but they always tell the same story. Thankfully, Read More
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’.
On opening, Philip Gross’s book immediately engages with its fragmented poetry layout. ‘Nocturne: The Information’ gifts the reader stanzas which are chopped up, seemingly disjointed on the page. Structure supports content, the corrugated stanzas echoing the front cover’s Blade Runner-esque landscape of blinking lights:
London-born poet Denise Saul writes from the heart about her experience of being her mother’s carer in this tender debut collection of prose and free verse poetry.
One of the first pages provides a definition of the word ‘stroke’, which seems significant, acting as a bridge between the first two poems. Significant too in its placement in the collection – directly after the titular poem: ‘The Room Between Us’. This poem gives us an insight into Saul’s feeling finding her mother lying alone having fallen, with the lights out, behind a door at home:
Mark Pajak’s debut collection, Slide, is a brutal, captivating account of how survival and death manifest in contemporary life. The hidden pains, fear and connections held so tenuously in the everyday are laid bare, spoken into plain view with striking language that cuts to the heart of the blurred lines between people and the natural world. This collection combines a variety of minimalistic forms and styles, bringing tales of loss, urbanisation, and adolescence in a series of 38 poems split across five sections.
An engaging addition to her growing portfolio of pamphlet publications, Laura Jane Lee’s flinch & air is a distinctive and deft exploration of Asian female identity. Matrilineal relationships, resilience, and political tension interweave seamlessly throughout the collection, creating interconnectedness between gender, identity, and society at large. Tenderness and violence co-exist in stunning lyricism and observations, profoundly paradoxical, prompting uncomfortable questions about what it means to assert womanhood in a politically broken world.
In the poem prefacing Some Integrity, Padraig Regan’s first full collection, ’50 ml of India Ink’, commissioned by Belfast School of Art, shows how integral art is to nature and to language. The collection addresses how forms change, and how lived experiences are transmuted revealing their true value and essence:
Opaque, & black as gravity,
the ink […]
[…] performs its tiny fractal
creep through the paper’s
iam Bell’s Man at Sea is a genre-defying delight that interrogates and reimagines the classic war novel. A domestic mystery set in Malta across the 1940s and 1960s, Man at Sea, follows the story of a former airman trying to reunite his old friend, Beth, with the son of her late wartime husband. The narrative is split between the airman, Stuart, and Beth’s stepson, with the former narrating the investigation alongside Beth during the 1960s. Beth’s Stepson acts as the second narrator, following his experience of the Siege of Malta through the 1940s. More than anything, this story is about the bonds people form through pain and fear and how complicated the love and relationships that arise from these shared experiences can be: ‘Could you not have left them a letter, huh? Just a word or two?’