Books
The Manchester Review

Two Memoirs:  Moby, Then It Fell Apart (Faber and Faber, £14.99), and Patti Smith, Year of the Monkey (Bloomsbury, £12.99), reviewed by Richard Clegg

Moby and Patti Smith represent two distinct generations of American music. Moby is one of the leading creators of popular electronic dance music. His breakthrough album Play became the soundtrack for films, and many adverts. His videos have the vitality of Eminem’s and some of their dark humour about aging and death. Although he has […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Cork International Short Story Festival 2019 (25 – 28 September), reviewed by Phil Olsen

A Partial Diary of the Cork International Short Story Festival 2019 (25 – 28 September) Phil Olsen Like me, the Cork Arts Theatre was established in 1976 (though I was never fondly referred to as the “CAT Club” in my early years). It is here that I arrived on a rainy late September evening to […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

MLF 2019:  ‘A Little Body Are Many Parts / Un Cuerpecito Son Muchas Partes’, 9/10/19, reviewed by Charlotte Wetton

‘A Little Body Are Many Parts / Un Cuerpecito Son Muchas Partes’ is one of those rare and lovely things: a poetry book with the original language and the English translation side by side. Poems from Legna Rodríguez Iglesias’ eight collections, written in Spanish, sit beside Abigail Parry and Seraphina Vick’s English translations. During the […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Isabel Galleymore and Stephen Sexton, Blackwell’s, 7/10/19, reviewed by Kathryn Tann

Introduced to Blackwells on a chilly October evening are poets Isabel Galleymore and Stephen Sexton, along with their shining debut collections. Both with previously published pamphlets, both lecturers in Creative Writing, yet both with a unique and distinctive voice; each takes their place before the keen audience to read and discuss their latest work. First […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Helen Tookey, City of Departures, Carcanet Press (£9.99), reviewed by Sophie Baldock

Helen Tookey’s new collection, City of Departures, begins with the poem “Equinox”, describing the point when the “The year is balanced, for a moment only”, and the days are as long as the nights. This fragile, fleeting state of equilibrium is delicately poised and at risk of breaking. The poem recounts moments of “Disequilibrium”, which […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Jeanette Winterson, Frankissstein, RNCM Theatre, 5/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase

Jeanette Winterson, Frankissstein: Manchester Literature Festival at the RNCM Theatre in partnership with the Centre for New Writing, 5/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase On the evening of Saturday the 5th of October Jeanette Winterson gave a reading unlike any other. Interactive, dramatic, futuristic, her performance was electrifying. Winterson animated the audience with her insightful and […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Marilyn Hacker | Blazons: New and Selected Poems | reviewed by Ian Pople

Marilyn Hacker | Blazons: New and Selected Poems, 2000 – 2018 | Carcanet: £14.99 There is a detailed, but never dry, attention paid in the poems in Marilyn Hacker’s new, Selected; an attention is not only to the things she observes, but, and this is a huge part of Hacker’s success, there is a real […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: Common People at The Cosmo Rodewald Theatre, Martin Harris Centre, 5/10/19 reviewed by Charlotte Wetton

Review of Common People, Manchester Literature  I went to the ‘Common People’ event because I crave new stories and new voices. Working-class experience in literature is a rich seam not yet tapped. If I were a publisher, I would be signing up some of these debut writers pronto. Common People is an anthology of memoir – […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

MLF 2019: David Nicholls in conversation with Alex Clark, at the Cosmo Rodewald Hall, Martin Harris Centre, 4/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Way

David Nicholls in conversation with Alex Clark The last time journalist Alex Clark interviewed writer David Nicholls in Manchester, it was, she says, a “mad experience” involving the police and broken microphones. David returned to Manchester on 4th October 2019 as part of his book tour for Sweet Sorrow – a story of first love […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Paul Muldoon and Alice Oswald: Literature Live at The Martin Harris Centre, Centre for New Writing, 3/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase

Paul Muldoon and Alice Oswald: Literature Live at The Martin Harris Centre, Centre for New Writing, 3/10/19, reviewed by Georgia Hase An evening in time, out of time, about time. Last night the remarkable Alice Oswald and Paul Muldoon gave the Centre of New Writing an evening of laughter and reflection. Both poets chose from […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Rebecca Tamás | WITCH | reviewed by Rebecca Hurst

Rebecca Tamás | WITCH | Penned in the Margins £9.99 Rebecca Tamás’ WITCH answered a question I didn’t know I was asking. Before reading WITCH I heard the electric crackle of its imminence: from the social media marketing campaign and Poetry Book Society recommendation, to the sold-out pre-publication performance in Manchester into which I failed […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Patricia Smith | Incendiary Art | reviewed by Ian Pople

Patricia Smith | Incendiary Art | Bloodaxe Books: £12 …and indeed it is. There is, perhaps, little surprise about the contents of much of this immensely powerful book. Given the events that are reported, and, as Smith would undoubtedly say, not reported, on our screens each day, Smith has a harrowing if ready stream of […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Pharricide (Confingo) by Vincent De Swarte, translated by Nicholas Royle. Reviewed by Richard Clegg

Pharricide (Confingo) by Vincent De Swarte, translated by Nicholas Royle. This short novel is a terrific read. It is always good to find a new author and I must admit this was all new to me. Vincent de Swarte wrote several books for children and five for adults. “Pharricide,” published in 1998, won the Prix […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Three Pamphlets | reviewed by Ian Pople

Martina Evans, Michèle Roberts, Denise Saul, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch | Speaking Again: Poems for International Women’s Day | Rack Press: £5 Even though each poet in Speaking Again: Poems for International Women’s Day has a slim selection, four quite individual voices are present in this Rack Press pamphlet for International Women’s day. The importance of those […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Karen Russell | Orange World | reviewed by Livi Michael

Karen Russell | Orange World | Penguin Random House: £14.99 There are readers who feel a certain prejudice against special effects. Who might read Beloved for instance, as a historical novel, and be more moved by the story of Sethe, and the atrocities of slavery, than the device of the dead infant who is brought […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Rebecca Goss | Girl | reviewed by Eleanor Ward

Rebecca Goss | Girl | Carcanet Press: £9.99 “I spent the day being Rachel” is what Rebecca Goss tells us a few poems into her third collection Girl. It is one example of the many identities of “girls” we are to meet over the collection, and the many understandings of her own identity in the […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Keith Hutson | Baldwin’s Catholic Geese | reviewed by Ian Pople

Keith Hutson | Baldwin’s Catholic Geese | Bloodaxe Books: £12 A book of mainly sonnets about, mostly long dead, music hall performers may not sound very entertaining… or, actually, it does, and is. But the point of the book is not only the recalling and regaling of lives which the vast majority of us are […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Sally Wen Mao | Oculus | reviewed by Ian Pople

Sally Wen Mao | Oculus | Graywolf Press: $16.00 There’s a driven intensity to many of the poems Sally Wen Mao’s new volume. And this intensity is true even as she moves through a range of figures from popular culture from Anna May Wong to Janelle Monáe and Solange. In particular, Anna May Wong, who […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Nina Bogin | Thousandfold | reviewed by Ian Pople

Nina Bogin | Thousandfold | Carcanet: £9.99 There is a lot of snow towards the start of Thousandfold, Nina Bogin’s fourth collection. And even when there isn’t snow, there’s snow, as in the beginning of ‘The Dream’ part 1, of Bogin’s sequence, ‘Visit to a Friend’, ‘I take a snow shovel, a laundry rack and […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Beverley Bie Brahic | The Hotel Eden | reviewed by Maryam Hessavi

Beverley Bie Brahic | The Hotel Eden | Carcanet: £9.99                And I carve out the bruises, the fine-bore                Tunnels of worms.                I slice the fruit thinly, until the white flesh                Is almost translucent,                I arrange the slices in the new pot from Ikea                                (I burned the old one),                Add a trickle of water                And […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Jenny Xie | Eye Level | reviewed by Ian Pople

Jenny Xie | Eye Level | Graywolf Press: $16.00 The blurbs on the back of Jenny Xie’s debut volume, Eye Level, include the New York Review of Books, Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker, Tracy K Smith and Brenda Shaughnessy. This first book has clearly hit the sweet spot as far as the reviewers are […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Forrest Gander | Be With | reviewed by Ian Pople

Forrest Gander | Be With | New Directions: $16.95 On the back of Forrest Gander’s new collection, the Washington Post is quoted with the comment, ‘A complex reading experience punctuated by intense beauty.’ It clearly takes a certain level of honesty to place such an ambivalent comment as part of a blurb. But there is […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Ken Smith | Collected Poems | reviewed by Ian Pople

Ken Smith | Collected Poems | Bloodaxe Books £14.99 The slight sense of a jostling masculinity in Ken Smith’s poetry might be part of the reason that it is often described as ‘muscular’. In part, this jostling feels as though it rises from the abundant contradictions of his life and manifested in the poetry; that […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

John Koethe | Walking Backwards: Poems 1966-2016 | reviewed by Ian Pople

John Koethe | Walking Backwards: Poems 1966-2016 | FSG: $40.00 In a characteristically pellucid essay, ‘The Pyrrhic Measure in American Poetry’, John Koethe’s friend and fellow poet, Douglas Crase, sets out to analyse a particular characteristic of the American poetic voice. Crase links the vistas of the American landscape with a particular type of American […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

J. Michael Martinez | Museum of the Americas | reviewed by Ian Pople

J. Michael Martinez | Museum of the Americas | Penguin: $20.00 J. Michael Martinez’ third collection Museum of the Americas has an interestingly compendious feel which runs from the title of the volume through to the notes and bibliography at the end. An equally compendious sense of ‘the Americas’ as embracing North, Central and South […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures edited by Richard Hirst. (Confingo, £12.99), reviewed by Richard Clegg

We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures edited by Richard Hirst. (Confingo, £12.99) The short time that falls between the end and start of the Northern bands, Joy Division and New Order, splits the new city region from the old. Joy Division, through Ian Curtis, are connected to the declining areas of de-industrialisation with […]

Read More Comments Off on We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures edited by Richard Hirst. (Confingo, £12.99), reviewed by Richard Clegg
The Manchester Review

Unthology 10, Edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones. Reviewed by Usma Malik

Unthology 10, Edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones. And the question is, always, what to do now? How to act now that the catastrophe  is here? Who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered? A shadow of yourself or the self of your shadow? Fight or Flight? And so readers […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

The Inheritance (Polygon), by Sheena Kalayil, reviewed by Usma Malik

London. A young student falls in love with her University tutor. Married Dr Ben Martin, advocator of women’s rights and author of titles such as ‘Daughters of Africa’ and ‘Gender and Law Reform in Africa’, is a respected member of the academic Faculty. Rita Kalungal, Nineteen, is a first year Anthropology student, and his tutee. […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Yiyun Li | Where Reasons End | reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Yiyun Li | Where Reasons End | Penguin Books: £12.99 Whether writing wedding vows or eulogies, there are certain things that we struggle to express in words. “You always say words fall short,” says Nikolai, the 16 year old son of the narrator in Yiyun Li’s latest novel, Where Reasons End. He is speaking to […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Roy Fisher | A Furnace | reviewed by Ian Pople

Roy Fisher | A Furnace | Flood Editions: $15.95/£12.44 Roy Fisher’s A Furnace first appeared in one of Oxford University Press’s more elegant editions in 1986. It was, perhaps, Fisher’s second great masterpiece after his first real appearance in print, the pamphlet, City. It is a small pity that Fisher’s reputation is often confined to […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Peter Robinson | Ravishing Europa | reviewed by Ian Pople

Peter Robinson | Ravishing Europa | Worple Press: £10.00 Peter Robinson’s new collection from Worple Press is an often elegiac response to the Brexit Referendum. It’s suitably ambiguous title – does Europe ravish, or is it being ravished? – seems almost to respond to the conflict in which the British people, and in particular, its […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

3 Pamphlets from Rack Press | reviewed by Ian Pople

John Barnie, Sherpas; Kathy Miles, Inside the Animal House; Dawn Morgan, Blood and Other Elements | Rack Press: £5.00 It is the human body which houses the animal for this group of pamphlets from Nicholas Murray’s Rack Press; the animal body in all its states from energised to declining. John Barnie’s Sherpas contains short, pithily […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Friedrich Holderlin | Selected Poetry | reviewed by Ian Pople

Friedrich Holderlin | Selected Poetry, trans. David Constantine | Bloodaxe: £14.99 Holderlin was born at an extraordinary time, in 1770, the same year as Hegel, Wordsworth and Beethoven. He attended a Lutheran seminary with Hegel and Schelling, and at university he met Fichte and Novalis, and knew Schiller and Goethe. It is suggested that Holderlin […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Mario Chard | Land of Fire | reviewed by Ian Pople

Mario Chard | Land of Fire | Tupelo Press: $17.95 Mario Chard’s first collection Land of Fire inevitably comes contextualized with biography; Chard was born to an Argentinian ‘immigrant’ mother and an American father. And many of these poems deal directly with the experience of immigration into America; a writing which, in some ways, could […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Heroines from Abroad (Carcanet), by Christine Marendon, translated by Ken Cockburn, reviewed by Chloé S Vaughan

Heroines from Abroad (Carcanet), by Christine Marendon, translated by Ken Cockburn, reviewed by Chloé S Vaughan ___________________________ Christine Marendon’s Heroines from Abroad, translated by Ken Cockburn, is a revealing collection that reminds us that the power of poetry isn’t limited to the words. The feeling that overcomes you when reading the poems is numinous; they take […]

Read More 0 Comments