Books
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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 / […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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