The Weather in Normal

This is a collection centred around space – the space in time between now and Etter’s childhood, the space of the great Illinois prairies and the space on the page that Etter uses so masterfully. ‘Night Ode’, the opening poem in the collection sets out the stall – the poems that follow will explore nostalgia,…

Carol Ann Duffy, The World’s Wife: A Review

Although published twenty years ago, this collection still feels incredibly fresh and contemporary. Due to its place on A Level set text lists in the UK, the poems in this collection are probably familiar to many poetry fans, so there’s no need for a long introduction. In this collection Duffy takes a whole host of…

Florist at Midnight

This is a sublime collection, redolent of a masterfully arranged bouquet – no sparsity, beautiful details and gathered together in a way that draws out every nuance. The title poem is full of darkness, sinister in its use of anthropomorphism. This is a feature across the collection as Maguire humanises a number of different plants…

Asylum, Sean Borodale: A Review

Before beginning the collection, I was struck by the title. I knew that it was written while Borodale explored the Somerset caving systems, but I wondered what the connection with Asylum could be – is Borodale making the suggestion that we are safer underground? The sheer number of questions in the opening poem ‘Rehearsal at St Cuthbert’s Swallet’…

‘The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx’ Review

‘The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx’ is a song to feminism. It’s not a paean as such – it’s too subtle for that in its messages. It feels fresh and surprising even as it twists and turns and puts the reader through a mangle. The opening poem ‘The True Story of Eleanor Marx’ is playful…

‘Passport’ Review

This collection really resonated with me. Perhaps this is due to the themes of moving away from home and living in a foreign country that I relate closely to, but I agree with Vicki Feaver’s description of it as a collection that is both “unsettling and often incredibly moving.” The collection opens with the quote…

Assembly Lines by Jane Commane: Reviewed

There is a very strong sense of place in this collection – almost enough to term it psychogeographical. The post-industrial landscape of the Midlands lingers on the fringes of most poems, taking centre stage for many. Commane sets out her stall strongly from the very start. The opening poem presents a gritty world with lines…

Dostoyevsky Wannabes Cities: Bristol Review

If you’ve not yet encountered Dostoyevsky Wannabe, I’d highly recommend them. A small, independent press based in Manchester, they’re at the vanguard of accessible, innovative literature, producing work at a prolific rate (51 books in four years) One of their more popular projects is the Cities series, where they invite poets to collaborate to produce…

Allen Ginsberg – Howl: A Review

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit San Francisco,  primarily because its synonymous with the Beat writers, who I was obsessed with as a teenager. Every year, I revisit Kerouac’s On The Road, but I realised it’s been a long time since I picked up Ginsberg’s Howl. Wondering if it still held the same magic to thirties me…

Lavinia Greenlaw: A World Where News Travelled Slowly

I recently listened to an old Scottish Poetry Library podcast with Lavinia Greenlaw (if you’ve never tuned in, you must. They really allow the poets to open up on their art and influences) and was really struck by the way she talked about growing up in Essex and the impact her scientific background has had…