Books
The Manchester Review

Lachlan Mackinnon, Doves, reviewed by Maryam Hessavi

Lachlan Mackinnon, Doves (Faber, £14.99). Doves is Mackinnon’s fifth collection of poetry. Following on from his last collection Small Hours, shortlisted in 2010 for the Forward Prize for Poetry, his new work marks a departure from a previously more delicate style. Doves is more forthright. In its style it is concerned most noticeably with form […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Adrian Buckner, Downshifting, reviewed by Ian Pople

Adrian Buckner, Downshifting (Five Leaves Publications, £9.99). The OED defines ‘downshifting’ as ‘The action of downshift; an instance of this; spec. (orig. U.S.), the practice of changing a financially rewarding but stressful career or lifestyle for one less pressured and highly paid, but more fulfilling.’ The title poem of Adrian Buckner’s third book of poems paints an idealistic […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

John Matthias, At Large: Essays, Memoirs, Interviews, reviewed by Ian Pople

John Matthias, At Large: Essays, Memoirs, Interviews (Shearsman, £16.95). John Matthias, Complayntes for Doctor Neuro & other poems (Shearsman, £9.95). John Matthias, Jean Dibble, and Robert Archambeau, Revolutions: a Collaboration (Dos Madres, $20.00). John Matthias’ At Large is a compendious and welcome collection of Matthias’ essays, memoir and interviews. Very welcome because Matthias is a […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Samuel Lee, A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore, reviewed by Natasha Stallard

Samuel Lee, A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore (Math Paper Press, $16.00). What’s the difference between a supermarket in Singapore and New Haven, Connecticut? In Samuel Lee’s debut collection ‘A Field Guide to Supermarkets in Singapore’, the Singaporean poet and Yale student wanders the aisles of his native city along with the organic stores […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lord and Commons, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Ishion Hutchinson, House of Lord and Commons, (Faber & Faber, £12.99). Ishion Hutchinson’s second book, House of Lords and Commons, was published by FSG in America, and released here, in the U.K., by Faber & Faber in November. The book’s reputation precedes it: winner of a National Book Critic Circle Award and top of sever […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Ian Marriott, The Hollow Bone, reviewed by Ian Pople

Ian Marriott, The Hollow Bone (Cinnamon Press, £8.99). The blurb on Ian Marriott’s first book does a good job of summing up the contents, ‘Meditative, spare and precise…suffused with a vital, shamanic sensibility.’ Marriott’s poems are often very short, with short lines in the kind of free verse which is happy to have different line […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Shanta Acharya, Imagine: New and Selected Poems, reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

Shanta Acharya, Imagine: New and Selected Poems (Harper Collins Publishers India, INR 399). Shanta Acharya was born and educated in India, where she completed an MA in English before writing a DPhil on Emerson at Oxford and becoming a visiting scholar at Harvard. She’s worked for the investment bankers Morgan Stanley in London. She’s written […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow, reviewed by Ian Pople

Frank Ormsby, The Darkness of Snow (Bloodaxe, £9.95). Frank Ormsby’s last book, Goat’s Milk, was a New and Selected giving a rich retrospective on a poet who was part of the flowering of poetry from Ulster that emerged in the shadows of The Troubles. That flowering gave us, firstly, Heaney, Longley and Mahon, and in […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Jim Johnstone, The Chemical Life, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Jim Johnstone, The Chemical Life (Signal Editions, £11.45). P.T. Anderson took a break mid-2016 to direct the video for Radiohead’s track ‘Daydreaming’, which follows Thom Yorke through a series of doors – fridge to hotel, hotel to house, closet to laundromat, and up a snowy mountain slope to a fire-lit cave: each door a border, […]

Read More 0 Comments
Lucy Burns

Rachael Allen & Marie Jacotey, Nights of Poor Sleep, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Rachael Allen, Faber New Poets 9 (Faber and Faber, £5.00). Rachael Allen, Hypochondria (If a Leaf Falls Press, £5.00). Rachael Allen & Marie Jacotey, Nights of Poor Sleep (Test Centre, £15.00). Allen’s debut pamphlet with Faber New Poets in 2014 nostalgically reimagined a suburban adolescence “always expecting/ something to happen.” We traipse round the harbour, […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Ange Mlinko, Distant Mandate, reviewed by Ian Pople

Ange Mlinko, Distant Mandate (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, $23.00). Ange Mlinko’s previous book was called Marvellous Things Overheard, a quotation from Aristotle. ‘Distant Mandate’ is, according to the dust jacket of this new book, a quotation from the Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai and is a quotation from Krasznahorkai’s essay on the Alhambra. In the previous […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Daljit Nagra, British Museum, reviewed by Gurnaik Johal

Daljit Nagra, British Museum (Faber & Faber, £14.99). Daljit Nagra’s third book of original poetry, British Museum, has been called “a significant departure of style”. It is definitely more understated than his previous Forward Prize-winning Look We Have Coming to Dover! and the lavishly titled Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger-Toy Machine!!! Where those two collections […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

John Wedgwood Clarke, Landfill, reviewed by Ian Pople

John Wedgwood Clarke, Landfill (Valley Press, £10.99). John Wedgwood Clarke’s first full collection, Ghost Pot, came with encomia from Carol Rumens, Penelope Shuttle and Michael Symmons Roberts. On its cover, Bernard O’Donoghue called the book, ‘a masterpiece’. Over the years, his poems have appeared in a range of prestigious journals including, Poetry Ireland Review, PN […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Caroline Bird, In These Days of Prohibition, reviewed by Annie Muir

Caroline Bird, In These Days of Prohibition (Carcanet, £9.99). In These Days of Prohibition, Caroline Bird’s fifth collection with Carcanet, is full of poems that are almost always surreal, often funny, and sometimes profoundly shocking. The book has three sections, each with its own epigraph. It begins with a quote from John Ashbery: ‘Suppose this […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Elaine Cosgrove, Transmissions, reviewed by Sahar Abbas

Elaine Cosgrove, Transmissions (Dedalus, £10.00). Elaine Cosgrove’s debut collection of poems, Transmissions, is inviting and full of intrigue. Touching on the front cover of her collection, it is natural that Cosgrove’s first poem begins with an image of cities and a Motorway, as her cover paints quite the abstract picture of a night skyline.‘We pass / […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

James Womack, On Trust: A Book of Lies, reviewed by Chad Campbell

James Womack, On Trust: A Book of Lies (Carcanet, £9.99). On Trust: A Book of Lies goes out of its way – on the jackets, author biography, and notes – to tell you that none of the book’s contents are true. Or, as the Colonel in the epigraph says, may “not have happened quite this […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Joanna Walsh, Worlds from the Word’s End reviewed by Nell Osborne

Joanna Walsh, Worlds from the Word’s End (And Other Stories, £8.99). With a relatively small output, Joanna Walsh has carved herself a place as one of the UK’s most innovative and influential writers. Her fans include writers such as Chris Kraus and Deborah Levy. She is also prescient cultural critic. She edits 3:AM magazine and […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Manchester Literature Festival: Jon McGregor at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Jon McGregor, Reservoir 13; The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 7 October 2017. “One of the things for me, about this book,” Jon McGregor explains before he starts the performance “is not to explain things…to people.” He doesn’t get the laugh he deserves. The audience is mostly anxiously clutching smartphones and muttering things like I don’t […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Stephen Romer, Set Thy Love In Order: New & Selected Poems, reviewed by Chad Campbell

Stephen Romer, Set Thy Love In Order: New & Selected Poems, (Carcanet, £12.99). Is Steve Romer a love poet? How much did his move from England to France in the eighties influence his style? If we’re to take him at his word, he doesn’t “feel part of any French tradition, except perhaps an earlier one…that […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Bill Knott, I Am Flying Into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014, reviewed by Ian Pople

Bill Knott, I Am Flying Into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014, edited with an introduction by Thomas Lux (Farar, Straus and Giroux, $28.00). In his introduction to Bill Knott’s Selected, Thomas Lux comments that Knott’s first book, Nights of Naomi was ‘straight from the surrealist manifestos, but entirely his own. The poems are violent, dark and […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Robert Lowell, New Selected Poems, reviewed by Ian Pople

Robert Lowell, New Selected Poems, ed. Katie Peterson (Faber, £14.99). If you came to poetry in the sixties and seventies, you came to Robert Lowell. His volume, Life Studies, seemed to dominate the perspective on poetry, in the way that The Whitsun Weddings, Crow or Ariel did, in their own way. One way in which […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Sarah Tierney, Making Space, reviewed by Tom Patterson

Sarah Tierney, Making Space (Sandstone, £8.99). Making Space is a strong debut novel from University of Manchester alumnus Sarah Tierney. It features Manchester’s Northern Quarter bars, rainy streets and converted Victorian housing in a way that moves beyond signposting without simply being a love letter to a time and a place. It was very easy […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Ian Parks, Citizens, reviewed by Ian Pople

Ian Parks, Citizens (Smokestack Books, £7.99). Over the years, Ian Parks has produced about a dozen books and pamphlets, from a variety of publishers. His shtick seems to be to have a new book out with a new publisher. But that variety of publisher never seems to diminish or dilute the quality of Parks’ writing, […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Edward Doegar, For Now and Rebecca Tamás, Savage (Clinic Press), reviewed by Annie Muir

Two strikingly presented new pamphlets have been published by Clinic this year – Edward Doegar’s For Now with its bold misaligned capitals and Rebecca Tamás’s Savage with its inverted abstract countryside scene. Fifteen and nine poems respectively, both offer a one-sitting-sized taste of their author’s main concerns. Doegar’s first poem ‘Anon’ begins: I don’t want […]

Read More 1 Comment
The Manchester Review

Tara Bergin, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx, reviewed by Chloé S. Vaughan

Tara Bergin, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet Press, £9.99). It’s been four years since Tara Bergin’s debut collection This is Yarrow hit shelves and deservedly snagged both the 2014 Seamus Heaney Award and 2014 Shine/Strong Poetry Award. In this brief absence, Bergin has not merely been looking out of her office window for […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Three pamphlets, reviewed by Ian Pople

Julie Mellor, Out of the Weather (Smith Doorstep, £5.00); Nigel Pantling, Kingdom Power Glory (Smith Doorstop, £9.95); Nicki Heinen, Itch (Eyewear Lorgnette Series, £6.00). In Julie Mellor’s poem ‘Propolis’, she writes ‘In truth, it’s not propolis I’m talking about,/ but those unwanted spaces where words land and rest’. There’s an interesting mixing of metaphor here. […]

Read More 1 Comment
The Manchester Review

Penelope Shuttle, Will you walk a little faster?, reviewed by Ken Evans

Penelope Shuttle, Will you walk a little faster? (Bloodaxe Books, £9.95). The eponymous title poem of Penelope Shuttle’s latest collection, Will you walk a little faster?, keen ‘Alice’ fans will know, is a line from ‘The Mock Turtle Song’ in Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland. The minimalist simplicity of Shuttle’s form here, is not a […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Richard Barnett, Seahouses, reviewed by Ken Evans

Richard Barnett, Seahouses, (Valley Press, £7.99). Is it too fanciful to hope, that a cultural archaeologist, in six hundred years, might turn over in their hands, the delicate, beautiful rectangle of processed wood, print technology, and creative design, that is the small press poetry volume of today, and marvel? They would be right to marvel […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Sheena Kalayil, The Bureau of Second Chances, reviewed by Ian Pople

Sheena Kalayil, The Bureau of Second Chances (Polygon, £8.99). The trope of the recently widowed man returning to the ‘mother’ land from another country might, in other hands, have seemed just that, a trope. The man who’s returned from time to time and built a house near to his home village, amid the land which […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

William Palmer, The Water Steps, reviewed by Ian Pople

William Palmer, The Water Steps (Rack Press, £9.95). There is a corner of English poetry which is forever Georgian. It traces its roots back to Edward Thomas and tends to go there directly; it does not pass Larkin and has a nodding genuflection to Yeats, but it goes straight to Thomas. This means that it […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Mai Der Vang, Afterland, reviewed by Ian Pople

Mai Der Vang, Afterland, (Graywolf Press, $16.00). If the Hmong peoples of Laos have any presence on this side of the Atlantic, it may be in the unfortunate environment of Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino, described by Timeout as the ‘ultimate “get off my lawn” movie.’ In that film, Eastwood’s grouchy character forms a relationship […]

Read More 0 Comments
Lucy Burns

Four pamphlets from If a Leaf Falls Press, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Sam Riviere has been producing a series of very limited edition pamphlets from his micro press, If a Leaf Falls Press, since 2015. 34 pamphlets have been published so far (though more are always being added to the list), with some first publications and work from poets you might not have heard of listed alongside […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Nicholas Murray, A Dog’s Brexit, reviewed by Ian Pople

Nicholas Murray, A Dog’s Brexit (Melos Press, £5.00). Nicholas Murray’s ‘Get Real’ a verse satire on the coalition government was published in his fine book Acapulco, also from William Palmer’s Melos Press. That poem used a modified Burns stanza to show just how hypocritical the coalition was; in all it’s fine rhetoric about balancing books […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, reviewed by Hannah Bressler

The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, edited by Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, Patricia Smith (University of Arkansas, £18.99). The ‘Golden Shovel’ form was created by Terrance Hayes to honour Gwendolyn Brooks. The rules are simple: 1. Borrow a line from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem, or another poem you admire 2. Use each […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Jorie Graham, Fast, reviewed by Ian Pople

Jorie Graham, Fast, (Carcanet, £12.99). Much is made of Jorie Graham as a ‘phenomenologist’; ‘phenomenology’ being ‘the description of things as one experiences them, or of one’s experiences of things.’ Further distinctions follow, one of which is often the rejection of Descartes’ division of mind and body, and also the rejection of usual distinction of […]

Read More 0 Comments