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…

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…

A stunning pamphlet by poet Mark Pajak

Spitting Distance is a Laureate’s Choice pamphlet from 2016 that I bought after hearing the poet read at an event in Bristol last year. From the moment he finished reading the first stanza of his first poem, I knew it would be special due to the concision of the language and the way in which…

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin: Selected Poems. A Review

This is an extensive selection of poems, many of which feel like the poetic interpretation of a Chagall painting, full of dream-like, surreal imagery haunted by ghosts and steeped in natural imagery such as ‘The Girl who Married the Reindeer’. The earlier poems at the beginning of the collection are filled with references to agriculture…

Selected Poems: A Review

My first encounter with Paterson’s work was his second collection, God’s Gift to Women, a Poetry Book Society recommendation. One of the things I love most about that collection is the way Paterson has mixed a whole host of different elements to create a real poetry personality – there are references to ancient Greek mythology…