Reviews
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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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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David Hartley

Possum | HOME | reviewed by David Hartley

Possum | HOME | November 1st There was a sense of slight apology in Matthew Holness’s introduction to Possum to the gathered audience at HOME’s event screening this week. Known for his cult comedy hit Garth Marengi’s Darkplace, Holness wanted it clear from the start that his debut feature film was in no way comedic […]

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The Manchester Review

alt-J | the Bridgewater Hall | 28th October

alt-J | the Bridgewater Hall | Sunday 28th October Sunday night was the first night this year that it’s dropped below freezing in Manchester and I spent more than an hour of it outside the Bridgewater Hall waiting to see if the fire-brigade would let us back in to see alt-J after the alarm went […]

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The Manchester Review

Everything that happened and would happen, Manchester International Festival, Oct 10-21, reviewed by Ronan Long

The latest product of German avant-garde impresario, composer and director Heiner Goebbels premiered at the recent Manchester International Festival preview. Everything that Happened and Would Happen was held in the cavernous, derelict Mayfield Station, the performance telling a history of sorts, an esoteric, chaotic history of Europe. This absurdist compression of the 19th and 20th […]

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The Manchester Review

Tom Odell | O2 Apollo | October 19th

Tom Odell | O2 Apollo | Friday, October 19th Tom Odell first came to the attention of most of us in 2013 with his debut album, Long Way Down, which shot quickly to number 1. The following year – after an Ivor Novello Award win for Best Songwriter – his sickly sweet “Real Love” graced […]

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The Manchester Review

IDLES | The Ritz | October 19th

IDLES | The Ritz | Manchester | October 19th It came as no surprise to see the Ritz bursting at the seams for IDLES’ set on Friday. They are arguably the most exciting band on the British music scene at the moment and the hype and buzz around them was evident in the atmosphere as […]

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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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David Hartley

Peterloo| HOME | reviewed by David Hartley

UK Premier of Peterloo | HOME | October 17th There was something dizzying about watching Peterloo mere metres from the site of the massacre itself, which commemorates its 200th anniversary next year. The magisterial glow of Manchester seem to shine from between the bricks with just a little more intensity after I came blinking out […]

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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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