Dead fridges, dragon-slaying horses and zombies welcome you to Holly Hopkins’ The English Summer, a wonderfully imaginative debut. Whilst remaining fantastical and playful, this collection dissects the roots of humanity and its relationship to our planet at large. Reimagining historical myths and traditions with an urbane sense of familiarity, Hopkins’ collection deracinates contemporary Englanders amidst a growing climate crisis. Reading these poems is like looking into an essential truth. Through both humour and accusation, storytelling from unique and unthinkable angles, Hopkins underscores the impending tragedy that is modern life.
The Sun is Open is a poetry collection from Northern Irish poet and academic Gail McConnell. McConnell had previously published two poetry pamphlets, Fourteen (2018) and Fothermather (2019).
From the very first page which details the tragic death of McConnell’s father by a bullet in front of her three-year-old self, it is made immediately clear to the reader that this will be a difficult and confrontational read.
In this most innovative of collections, Notes on the Sonnets, epigraphs taken from the first lines of Shakespeare’s sonnets are conjoined, non-sequentially, with lines of prose poetry. These convey thoughts as digressive, associative and reflexive as any creative prose essay – in the Paul Klee sense of ideas being taken for a walk – lines that contain vestiges of the original tropes only recustomised for the 21st Century.
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
Raymond Antrobus has chosen the epigraph for his first collection wisely: ‘There is no telling what language is inside the body’ (Robin Coste Lewis). Antrobus explores his experiences with late-diagnosed Deafness, mixed heritage experience (Antrobus is Jamacian British), and an alcoholic parent; but beneath these concerns is ultimately his passion for communication. There’s something that Read More
“This book is gonna be a killer. It’s gonna suck me dry, / suck me white, suck my insides out and leave me hollow and high.” (“And All the Things That We Could Do I Face Today”) A standard literary trope is to create expectations and defy them. So, to a seasoned reader, a Read More
Luke Wright’s career as a poet has emphasised the indelible connection between writing and performance. Wright has been performing his poetry since he was 17 but it wasn’t until 2000 that he really explored poetry’s potential in the artistic community, co-founding Aisle16 with Ross Sutherland. Aisle16 mostly features Wright and Sutherland’s own work, alongside those Read More
If you keep up with magazines such as 3:AM, Under the Radar, Hearing Voices or Tears in the Fence, you may be familiar with many of Melissa Lee-Houghton’s poems in Beautiful Girls. Previously recognised in the Lupus UK Competition as well as by The New Writer Collection, Beautiful Girls is now listed as a Poetry Read More
From the outset, Chris McCabe makes it clear that In the Catacombs is not merely a research project but the fruits of a personal challenge; at its most basic, his quest is to explore the posthumous appraisal of any poet is in relation to his or her innate talent and/or popularity enjoyed while alive. Early Read More
Forms of Protest is, at first read, quite a bizarre piece of work. However, amongst Hannah Silva’s strange and unconventional writing there is a wealth of inventive and interesting content. Silva’s background in music, including playing the recorder and her experience in theatre, sees her work with sounds and rhetoric in interesting ways. The collection Read More