Reviews
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

Imarhan | Night & Day Cafe | reviewed by David Adamson

Imarhan | Night & Day Cafe | Manchester: August 6th The Night & Day café looks like a cross between Cheers and the red-lit and threatening open-mic nights from every country music biopic. Throughout the decade I’ve been coming in here, it’s never changed. A while back it obviously made a series of personal and […]

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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

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2019 | Glynde Place | July 5th to 7th On record, Manchester’s own Go Go Penguin can seem occasionally samey, even cloying. The punched, ‘epic’ chords that pianist Chris Illingworth’s right hand deploys can feel a little coercive, the rhythmic push a little determined. Live, however, they prove the point. The […]

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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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Chad Campbell

Howard Jones | Bridgewater Hall | May 30th

Howard Jones | Bridgewater Hall | May 30th Thursday night at Bridgewater hall saw synth-pop star Howard Jones return to Manchester in support of his new album Transform and to mark the 35th anniversary of his double-platinum debut 1984 album Human Lib. Jones, no stranger to Manchester, studied piano at the Royal Northern College of […]

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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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The Manchester Review

Great Painters Are Rare: William Stott of Oldham,1857-1900, an exhibition at Oldham Art Gallery until May 11th, reviewed by Richard Clegg

Great Painters Are Rare: William Stott of Oldham,1857-1900, an exhibition at Oldham Art Gallery until May 11th Reviewed by Richard Clegg  William Stott led two lives, one rooted in Oldham and its environs, the other outside Paris in a centre for modern painters at Grez-sur-Loing where he made his home.  The son of a mill […]

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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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Marsha Courneya

Nicki Minaj | Manchester Arena | reviewed by Marsha Courneya

Nicki Minaj | NICKI WRLD TOUR | Manchester Arena, March 18, 2019 Opening Acts: RAY BLK and Juice WRLD Special Guests: Lady Leshurr, YXNG BANE, Lisa Mercedez, and Ms Banks Nicki Minaj gave us a night of intimate spectacle that made Manchester arena feel somehow cozy. The costume changes, set pieces, backup dancers, special guests, […]

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Marsha Courneya

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at The Lowry, reviewed by Marsha Courneya

Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi | The Lowry: March 8, 2019 Jeanguy SAINTUS’ choreography rose to meet the relentlessly challenging score of The Rite of Spring. Although it stayed true in some moments to Stravinsky’s initial vision of ritual sacrifice, wherein ‘a young girl danc[es] herself to death,’ to honour the […]

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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

Opera North’s Katya Kabanova at the Lowry, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Opera North’s Katya Kabanova | The Lowry: Thursday March 7th Thursday night’s performance of Katya Kabanova by Opera North at the Lowry was set in a bleak, grey-green world. Director Tim Albery’s decision to play all three acts together with no interval was an excellent one that allowed the intensity of Katya and the cruelty […]

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The Manchester Review

Opera North’s The Magic Flute at the Lowry, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Opera North’s The Magic Flute | The Lowry: Tuesday March 5th Tickets Available for Saturday March 9th at 7:00 Opera North held their press night for The Magic Flute this Tuesday night at the Lowry. The Magic Flute is meant to be one the more accessible and light operas, this was a determinedly dark and […]

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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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The Manchester Review

Mother Courage and Her Children | Royal Exchange | reviewed by Imogen Durant

Mother Courage and her Children | Royal Exchange | 8 FEBRUARY 2019 – 2 MARCH 2019 Mother Courage and her children are transported into the future in a new co-production from the Royal Exchange and Headlong. By setting her adaptation in 2080, Anna Jordan breathes new life into Brecht’s acclaimed anti-war play, demonstrating its 21st […]

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Marsha Courneya

Forest | HOME | reviewed by Marsha Courneya

Forest | HOME | January 24th, 2019 Created and performed by James Monaghan, Directed by Leentje Van de Cruys                 I am an audience member. I don’t have to say anything. This was a mental loop during James Monaghan’s performance of Forest that I repeated to remain present. It can be easy to tune out during […]

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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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Marsha Courneya

The Hidden Pinup | HOME | reviewed by Marsha Courneya

The Hidden Pinup | HOME | 13th January, 2019 The Hidden Pinup is a seven-minute performance that could be unpacked for hours. The piece moved like a slow zoom from a burlesque fantasy in to the complex history of the black pinup and the ongoing fetishization of women of colour. The theme of beauty giving […]

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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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The Manchester Review

Manon | Manchester Opera House | reviewed by Aminah Barnes

Manon | Manchester Opera House The Parisian tale of desire, decadence, and doom was produced by the late Kenneth MacMillan in 1974 and was his third full-length production as resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet. Manon followed his widely successful Romeo and Juliet (1965) and his second masterpiece, Anastasia (1971), which was met with a […]

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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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