Reviewed: The Protection of Ghosts, Natalie Linh Bolderston

The poems in this debut pamphlet are filled with ghosts – not ‘physical’ ghosts, but the ghosts of the past that live in the present through inter-generational stories and experiences. Natalie Linh Bolderston weaves a haunting tapestry of trauma, exile, cultural legacy and loss in poems that examine the scars left by the atrocities of…

Louise McStravick, How to Make Curry Goat: Review

Louise McStravick’s collection explodes into the reader’s consciousness, seducing with vibrant, colourful imagery while also shining a light on life on society’s fringes. The opening poem ‘Just another road in Erdington’ sets the tone, filled with vernacular phrases and talk of prisons, arson and drug addiction that was the backdrop to childhood. From the outset,…

Racheal Boast, Void Studies: Review

There is so much movement in this collection of beautiful vignettes, whether through the physical movement of the characters in the poems or the movement of the elements that meander through the poems. From the opening line “Late night like unopened letters” it feels that these are secrets whispered to the reader, elusive and illusory,…

Thomas McColl, Grenade Genie: Review

From the opening poem, it’s clear that this collection is an unwaveringly close examination of the modern world, its landscapes and its politics.It moves from the fresh and interesting descriptions of “buses are bison and people are grass” (‘No Longer Quite so Sure’) to the didactic “You’ve made a pact with the digital devil” (‘The…

Fiona Benson, Vertigo and Ghost: Review

Vertigo and Ghost is Fiona Benson’s second collection and the winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2019.. I was bowled over by Bright Traveller, falling in love with the way she weaves the natural world with human experience in a way that feels both warming yet sinister. I love the immediacy of…

The Salt Path: Raynor Winn

This had been on my radar for a while – the wonderful cover had me thinking of extended walks by the seaside – like a coastal Sebald or Solnit. It’s a little different, and not 100% what I was expecting. Instead of a poetic piece of psychogeographical narrative, this is a biography of a couple…

Lanny: Max Porter

I devoured Porter’s first book Grief is a Thing with Feathers in one sitting, so I cleared an afternoon and settled in. Although I am a bit of a traditionalist in terms of form, there’s something about the way Porter dissolves the boundaries of form that is really accessible.  Lanny opens with a barrage of…

Elisabeth Horan: Odd list, Odd house, Odd me

This collection is an ode to Emily Dickinson – to her work, her themes and her poetry. In an interview with Twist in Time magazine, Horan highlights the similarities between her own work and that of Dickinson in terms of themes, but this collection isn’t simply a reflection of Dickinson’s work – in some ways,…

Ocean Vuong: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

I loved his poetry collection for its astonishing use of lyricism and twisting of classicalism (like in the incredible Telemachus) so I was very excited to get my hands on this. I heard him read at Toppings in Bath and knew from the short extract this was going to be something special – the delicacy…

Bright Travellers: Fiona Benson

The debut collection from the award-winning poet was a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Deeply personal, it covers motherhood, landscape and includes a beautiful sequence of poems for Vincent Van Gogh. The opening poem ‘Caveat’ forms an epigraph for the collection with its message that  it is possible to find the…