Books
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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Ian Pople

Ellen Hinsey | The Illegal Age | reviewed by Ian Pople

Ellen Hinsey | The Illegal Age | Arc Publications: £10.99 Ellen Hinsey’s The Illegal Age is a study in rhetoric. It is a study in how language is warped by power and how language colludes with and supports power. As such it is, perhaps, a poetic rendering of some of the analyses of Foucault or […]

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Ian Pople

Miles Champion | A Full Cone | reviewed by Ian Pople

Miles Champion | A Full Cone | Carcanet £14.99 The challenge or skill, perhaps, for a L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet is how much of conventional syntax to retain to allow the surface of the text to be ‘accessible’ or not. Or perhaps that is how I see it. Clearly, there is a cline of accessibility here, with […]

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The Manchester Review

Jim Crace and Jenni Fagan: Manchester Literature Festival and Literature Live at the Centre for New Writing, 5/11/18, reviewed by Adam Wolstenholme

Beauty in the dark – an evening with Jim Crace and Jenni Fagan Jim Crace and Jenni Fagan were interviewed last night by Ian McGuire at the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama. It was an evening of parallels and contrasts – of the relationship between the human and the animal, luxury and poverty, […]

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The Manchester Review

Take 2: Terrance Hayes, Manchester Literary Festival at the Central library, reviewed by David Adamson

Review: Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin Manchester Literary Festival Central Library, Friday 19th October 2018 David Adamson “something happened / In Chicago & Cleveland & Baltimore & happens / Almost everywhere in this country every day” -Probably twilight makes blackness dangerous A few years ago the intended subject of these […]

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The Manchester Review

Take 2: Filigree, Contemporary Black British Poetry Manchester Literary Festival at the Central Library, reviewed by David Adamson

Review: Filigree, Contemporary Black British Poetry Manchester Literary Festival Central Library, Friday 19th October 2018 Tonight, in the surgically bright Performance Space of Manchester’s Central Library, three young poets talked about darkness. This wasn’t, however, the usual darkness that audiences of poetry nights are accustomed to. Instead, Momtaza Mehri, Victoria Adukwei Bulley and Rachel Long […]

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The Manchester Review

Filigree and Terrance Hayes, MLF at the Central Library, Oct 20th, reviewed by Thomas Lee

Dorothea Smartt steps onstage in the stark white Corinthian hatbox of the Manchester Central Library. The music of Johnny Nash and the O’Jays dies away, leaving only the faint strains of a violinist busking outside in St. Peter’s Square. Nobody has told him that we’re here to listen to poetry. Smartt is a poet in […]

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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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