Books
The Manchester Review

Beth Underdown at IABF, Oct 16th, – reviewed by Adam Wolstenholme

There were stories to chill the spine and warm the heart at an event to launch the new collection by local novelist Beth Underdown this week. Beth read from Love makes as many at the Anthony Burgess Foundation on Tuesday. Her collection dramatises the women featured in the exhibition Lost Voices which ran at National […]

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The Manchester Review

Carys Davies and Sarah Moss, hosted by Katy Shaw at the International Burgess Foundation, Manchester Literature Festival, October 14th, reviewed by Matthew McGrogan

The sun emerged from behind the clouds as Katy Shaw welcomed Carys Davies and Sarah Moss to the International Burgess Foundation. Both novelists have recently celebrated the release of a new book — Carys Davies with her debut novel West and Sarah Moss with her novel Ghost Wall. Katy began by mentioning the form of […]

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The Manchester Review

Terrance Hayes | American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin | reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Terrance Hayes | American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin | Penguin, £9.99 I’ve been trying to write a review of Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin all summer. I read the book cover to cover in one sitting when it came out in June. Since then, I’ve dipped in […]

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The Manchester Review

Take 2: 24 Stories with Kathy Burke, MLF at the Dancehouse, reviewed by Pippin Major

24 Stories, MLF at the Dancehouse There’s a hum of lively chatter in Manchester’s Dancehouse theatre as the crowd awaits the arrival of the four stars of tonight’s event. No doubt it is the star-power of Kathy Burke that has filled most of the seats, and indeed this is a topic visited again and again […]

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The Manchester Review

Take 2: Xi Chuan and Jennifer Lee Tsai at the Manchester Literature Festival, reviewed by Weng U Pun

Xi Chuan and Jennifer Lee Tsai at the Manchester Literature Festival This Saturday at the Anthony Burgess Foundation I had the opportunity to hear the poems of Xi Chuan, who is currently a professor at Beijing Normal University and Jennifer Lee Tsai, a fellow of the national poetry mentoring scheme, The Complete Works III. The event […]

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The Manchester Review

Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene, with Gemma Cairney, Manchester Literature Festival at the Central Library, Oct 12th 2018, reviewed by Christine Walker

Review: Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, at the Central Library The Central Library, on St Peter’s Square, Manchester was set to host, as part of the Manchester Literature Festival, a night with the young and well-received authors of Slay In Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene. The […]

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The Manchester Review

Zaffar Kunial, Richard Scott & Hannah Sullivan at the IABF, Manchester Literature Festival, Oct 13th, reviewed by Suzi Clark

Faber New Poets: Zaffar Kunial, Richard Scott & Hannah Sullivan The International Anthony Burgess foundation saw a great turn out for the Faber New Poets event: a stunning book launch for the work of new voices in poetry, celebrated as part of the Manchester Literature Festival. Unfortunately, only three of the poets were able to […]

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The Manchester Review

Chinese Voices: Xi Chuan and Jennifer Lee Tsai, IABF, Manchester Literature Festival, Oct 13th 2018, reviewed by Katherine Bosworth

The International Anthony Burgess Foundation on Cambridge Street is small, yet has an undeniable element of grandeur. The walls showcase exposed brickwork, and there is a large metal pipe above, giving the space an industrial feel. The event taking place here is Chinese Voices, my first poetry event of the Manchester Literature Festival. As I […]

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The Manchester Review

24 Stories with Kathy Burke and others, MLF at the Dancehouse, reviewed by David Adamson, The Dancehouse Theatre, 10th October 2018

Review: 24 Stories with Kathy Burke and others, Manchester Literary Festival     When catastrophes such as the Grenfell Tower fire happen, in the aftermath news reports tend to describe them as ‘an unspeakable tragedy’. While that adjective is fitting in regards to the trauma of the affected and the difficulty in describing such horror, there […]

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The Manchester Review

A Celebration of Muriel Spark, with Jackie Kay and Alan Taylor, Manchester Literature Festival at Cosmo Rodewald Theatre, Centre for New Writing

The Scottish writer Jackie Kay is third modern Makar, the Scottish poet laureate, whose work is known for its humour and exuberance. Who better to celebrate that other grand dame of Scottish letters, Muriel Spark? Kay was joined on stage at the Cosmo Rodewald campus venue on Tuesday by literary journalist and Spark biographer Alan […]

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The Manchester Review

Nicolai Houm and Arno Camenisch, Manchester Literature Festival at IABF

In the redbrick engine house at the Anthony Burgess Foundation we find Norway’s ‘Most American Author’ and one of Switzerland’s most widely translated novelists. They are both mountain men: they ski, they snowboard, they go to the mountains for isolation and tranquillity, but also to procrastinate. For Nicolai Houm and Arno Camenisch, skiing is ‘the […]

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Ian Pople

Eleni Vakalo | Before Lyricism | reviewed by Ian Pople

Eleni Vakalo | Before Lyricism | Ugly Duckling Press $18.00 Eleni Vakalo’s Before Lyricism appears in Ugly Duckling Press’ ‘Lost Literature’ series. Among other authors in this series are Laura Riding, Man Ray, Duchamp and Cesar Vallejo. Vakalo, herself, was clearly a very important figure in post-war Greek culture; having studied Art History at the […]

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Ian Pople

Mary Leader | She Lives There Still | reviewed by Ian Pople

Mary Leader | She Lives There Still | Shearsman Books £9.95 The cover of Mary Leader’s She Lives There Still is entitled ‘Wildflowers with a View of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin’. The picture is detailed and colourful contrasting the lower half of the picture with its whites, golds and blues, in the daisies and poppies, and […]

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Ian Pople

J.H. Prynne | The Oval Window | reviewed by Ian Pople

J.H.Prynne | The Oval Window ed. N.H.Reeve & Richard Kerridge | Bloodaxe £12.00 This new edition of The Oval Window contains both Prynne’s original poem and also an annotated version of the same text. The book also contains drawing and photographs which Prynne made and took around the time of the composition of the poem. […]

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The Manchester Review

Nick Laird | Feel Free | reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Nick Laird | Feel Free | Faber & Faber £14.99 There’s a SoundCloud recording of Nick Laird reading ‘Feel Free’ that I stream once in a while when I can’t sleep. It’s about a parent on night-feed duty, half-awake, half-dreaming. Listening to the reading, the rhythms and rhyme create a kind of lulling effect and […]

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The Manchester Review

Peter Green’s Translation of Homer’s The Odyssey | reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

Homer: The Odyssey, trans. by Peter Green | University of California Press £24.00 Historian, translator of Greek and Latin poetry and, in former lives, wartime serviceman in the Far East, journalist and historical novelist, Peter Green is the Dougherty Centennial Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin. His translation of The […]

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Ian Pople

Henri Cole | Orphic Paris| reviewed by Ian Pople

Henri Cole | Orphic Paris | New York Review Books £10.99 For Henri Cole, ‘…Paris is the city of the beloved’. This not only implies that the beloved lives in Paris but also that the city holds the beloved, that the existence of the beloved is part and parcel of the existence of Paris. If […]

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Ian Pople

Li-Young Lee | The Undressing| reviewed by Ian Pople

Li-Young Lee | The Undressing | Norton £20.00 In a recent interview, Li-young Lee commented, ‘I think poetry is the mind of God. All the great poems that I love seem to me to all have that little ingredient. You feel like you’re in the presence of the mind of God.’ Such utterances tend to […]

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Ian Pople

Gerður Kristný, Drápa/The Slaying, reviewed by Ian Pople

Gerður Kristný Drápa, The Slaying, trans. Rory McTurk, Arc Publications: £10.99

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The Manchester Review

David Calcutt, The last of the light is not the last of the light, reviewed by Ken Evans

The last of the light is not the last of the light by David Calcutt, Fair Acre Press: £9.99 David Calcutt’s first full collection from small, independent press Fair Acre, is pre-occupied with rites of passage, and above all, death, and the transformative power it thrusts upon us. The book opens with a quote from […]

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Ian Pople

Michael O’Neill, Return of the Gift, reviewed by Ian Pople

Michael O’Neill Return of the Gift Arc Publications £9.99 In Sources of the Self, Charles Taylor comments that, for the Romantics, ‘The artist doesn’t imitate nature so much as he imitates the author of nature.’ Perhaps it is because Michael O’Neill has studied the Romantic poets for most of his academic career, that his own […]

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Ian Pople

Three Pamphlets: Ling di Long, Finishing Lines, and The Museum of Truth, reviewed by Ian Pople

Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, Ling di Long, Rack Press £5; Ian Harrow, Finishing Lines, Rack Press £5; Nicholas Murray, The Museum of Truth, Melos £5 Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch has been cited as a successor to the ‘narrative’ school of British poetry; a school which perhaps reached its apogee in the writing of James Fenton and Andrew Motion in […]

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The Manchester Review

Richard Scott, Soho, reviewed by Nell Osborne

Richard Scott | Soho | Faber & Faber Richard Scott’s debut poetry book, Soho, comes after his pamphlet Wound won the 2016 Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets. Whilst reading it on the bus, I overheard a woman tell her friend that she hopes her baby son will ‘turn out gay’ so they can ‘watch […]

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Ian Pople

E.J. Koh, A Lesser Love, reviewed by Ian Pople

E.J. Koh, A Lesser Love, Pleiades Press £12.75 E.J. Koh’s A Lesser Love is the prize winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry and comes with back cover puffs from D.A. Powell and Timothy Donnelly. It contains a wide range of poems, registers and style. And it also contains a lot of anger, […]

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Ian Pople

Carl Phillips, Wild is the Wind, reviewed by Ian Pople

Carl Phillips, Wild is the Wind, FSG $23.00 ‘Wild is the Wind’ is one of the great songs from the American Songbook. Originally recorded by Johnny Mathis for the film of the same name, it has picked up a range of interpreters from Nina Simone and David Bowie, to Bat For Lashes, Esperanza Spalding and […]

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Ian Pople

Layli Long Soldier, Whereas, Graywolf Press

Layli Long Soldier, Whereas, Graywolf Press $16.00 The OED defines ‘whereas’ in a number of ways, including ‘Taking into consideration the fact that; seeing that, considering that. Chiefly & now only introducing a preamble in a legal or other formal document’. It also defines it as ‘Introducing a statement of fact in contrast or opposition […]

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Ian Pople

Memorial to the Future, by Volker von Törne, trans. Jean Boase-Beier

Volker von Törne, Memorial to the Future, trans. Jean Boase-Beier, Arc £10.99 Volker von Törne was clearly a very interesting man. The son of an SS unit commander, he dedicated his life to reconciliation, particularly with camp survivors, and became a director of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (AS) (Action Reconciliation-Service for Peace) and befriended a number […]

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Ian Pople

Simulacra, Airea D. Matthews, reviewed by Ian Pople

Airea D. Matthews, Simulacra, Yale University Press: £14.99 Airea D. Matthews is the 2016 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets; the 111th such of a series whose previous winners have included Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery and Jack Gilbert. Matthews was chosen by Carl Phillips and his introduction comments that Matthews’ ‘use of wide-ranging […]

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The Manchester Review

Feel Free, Zadie Smith, reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Feel Free, Zadie Smith, Pengiun Random House In her second collection of essays, Feel Free, Zadie Smith proves once again to be an essential writer of our times. The wide-ranging subject matter of the book shows Smith as an acute observer of the world and an astute critic of culture and art. Each piece, whether […]

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The Manchester Review

#Me Too Anthology, edited by Deborah Alma, reviewed by Ken Evans

#MeToo Anthology: A Women’s Poetry Anthology, editor Deborah Alma, (Fairacre Press). In Bernard MacLaverty’s novel, Midwinter Break, the author describes a tour bus ride to Buchenwald concentration camp. A wasp buzzes down the hot bus with shut windows. None of the tourists – pensive, afraid even – dare raise a hand to swat it, sensitised […]

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The Manchester Review

Robert Desnos, Surrealist, Lover, Resistant, reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

Robert Desnos, Surrealist, Lover, Resistant, translated and introduced by Timothy Adѐs (Arc Publications, 2018) £19.99 pbk Others will review this sumptuous volume in the light of a knowledge of Desnos’s poetry. I can only comment on how it strikes someone almost completely new to his writing. What you want from a translation will partly depend […]

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The Manchester Review

Conor O’Callaghan, Live Streaming, reviewed by Joe Carrick-Varty

Conor O’Callaghan, Live Streaming (Loughcrew: The Gallery Press, 2017) Live Streaming (2017), O’Callaghan’s fifth collection of poems comes off the back of a six-year poetic absence in which he published a novel, Nothing on Earth (2016). Moving away from the self-reflexively metaphorical poems in Fiction (2005) such as ‘Coventry’ and ‘Gloves’, this book is more […]

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Ian Pople

Andrew McCulloch, Gradual, reviewed by Ian Pople

Andrew McCulloch, Gradual, (Melos Press) £5.00 The centre piece, literally, of Andrew McCulloch’s new pamphlet, Gradual, is a translation of six ‘Holy Sonnets’ attributed to the French playwright, Jean Racine. In a lengthy note at the back of the pamphlet, McCulloch acknowledges the disputed attribution of the poems. The poems also have a somewhat obscure […]

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Ian Pople

Beatrice Garland, The Drum, reviewed by Ian Pople

Beatrice Garland, The Drum Templar Poetry £10.00 A key note in Beatrice Garland’s debut collection, The Invention of Fireworks, was the tension between stability and change. In that first book, Garland reconciles that tension technically by using an adroit combination of lyric and narrative, working between epiphany and process. Garland’s new book, The Drum, also […]

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Ian Pople

Douglas Crase, The Astropastorals, reviewed by Ian Pople

Douglas Crase, The Astropastorals, (Pressed Wafer $10.00) Douglas Crase’s The Astropastorals is a slim pamphlet of the ten poems Crase has chosen to publish since he published The Revisionist in 1981. The Revisionist gained immediate praise; its dustjacket had puffs from John Ashbery and James Merrill. David Kalstone introduced a reading by Ashbery and Crase […]

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