‘Better than God: Peter Porter

This was the last collection Porter published before his death – which means it’s no surprise that mortality is very much at the forefront. However, it’s not a maudlin collection – there’s enough humour here to give balance to the levity of the subject matter. The short opening poem ‘Better than God’ opens the collectionContinue reading “‘Better than God: Peter Porter”

Handiwork: Sara Baume

Everything about this book is satisfying – the size (pleasingly pocket-sized), the texture (heavy-grade, slightly rough paper) and of course the contents. It’s a beautifully wrought insight into the mind of an artist who explores her craft, her inspiration, her influences and the world around her in little sequences. Many of these sequences read likeContinue reading “Handiwork: Sara Baume”

A Man’s House Catches Fire – Review

Tom Sastry’s debut collection thrusts the reader into a world wrapped in deadpan metaphors. The opening poem ‘A Man’s House Catches Fire’ sets the tone as self-deprecating from the outset with the lines: “I thought the smell of smoke was just me going off my head which I have learned to expect.” The poem endsContinue reading “A Man’s House Catches Fire – Review”

Review: Julia Webb’s ‘Threat’

This second collection from Julia Webb is published by the fantastic Nine Arches Press. Consisting of four sections, the reader is thrown into a world of violence, loss and family expertly examined with an unflinching eye. In the first section, ‘Body of evidence’ the poems have a sinister tinge, rooted in the physical. The openingContinue reading “Review: Julia Webb’s ‘Threat’”

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 ofContinue reading “Reviewed: The Protection of Ghosts, Natalie Linh Bolderston”

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,Continue reading “Louise McStravick, How to Make Curry Goat: Review”

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,Continue reading “Racheal Boast, Void Studies: Review”

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” (‘TheContinue reading “Thomas McColl, Grenade Genie: Review”

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 whichContinue reading “A stunning pamphlet by poet Mark Pajak”

Olivia Laing’s To the River – A Midsummer meander

Laing’s To the River is a travelogue of sorts as the writer sets out on a midsummer morning to walk the banks of the River Ouse from source to sea. Peppered with memories of a failed relationship, this is a journey through memory, not just hers but those of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, whose diariesContinue reading “Olivia Laing’s To the River – A Midsummer meander”

Wood Bee Poet

Poems, thoughts...etc.

The Pledge

Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon

Nicola Heaney

Writer & Poet

Freefall

'She would say to discover / the true depth of a well, / drop a stone, / start counting.' - Andrew Greig