Citadel: Martha Sprackland

The thing that really stood out in Sprackland’s debut was the sense of cohesion. The first poem ‘Poached Eggs on Toast’ creates images and motifs that are carried through the collection – eggs and yolks appear in many poems. The second and third poems form a mini sequence exploring Sprackland’s memory of being hit onContinue reading “Citadel: Martha Sprackland”

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”

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”

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 ofContinue reading “Fiona Benson, Vertigo and Ghost: 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”

Absent Presence by Mahmoud Darwish – a fascinatingly undefinable piece of beauty

Described by the author as “a baffling text”, this is an entirely unique piece of literature. Admittedly, it’s quite difficult to grasp at the outset, written in the second person where the narrator seems to be addressing other forms of himself – but the beauty of the language and the phrasing compelled me to persevere. Continue reading “Absent Presence by Mahmoud Darwish – a fascinatingly undefinable piece of beauty”

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