Reviews
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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Ian Pople

John Singer Sargent, The Watercolours exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery, reviewed by Ian Pople

John Singer Sargent, The Watercolours, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 21 June – 8 October 2017. This is not the first exhibition of Sargent’s watercolours; a little fossicking around on the web will find you a YouTube video of comparable exhibitions in Houston and Boston. So, why is it that a painter known mostly for his turn-of-the-twentieth-century […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Frank Cottrell Boyce and Geoff White, reviewed by Usma Malik

Frank Cottrell Boyce and Geoff White; Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8 2017. Just as science and theory offer endless opportunities to invent and reinvent stories, so do our existing narratives, and the ‘What if?’ question pops up again, this time in Frank Cottrell Boyce’s incredibly entertaining talk. Stories? He queries. Oh, stories, […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Dr Rob Appleby, Ra Page, reviewed by Usma Malik

How to Write Science-fiction: Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Dr Rob Appleby, and Ra Page; Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8-9 2017. When a Science-fiction writer’s panel kicks off with the sound of foxes howling you know you’re in for an interesting ride. The three men sitting on the front row are in full […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Tony Walsh and Dr Marcus Chown, reviewed by Usma Malik

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 7 2017. Science, Storytelling, Magic and the Universe. It’s been a starry three days at the 2017 Bluedot Festival. I would have loved to cover it all, unfortunately the TARDIS was in for repairs and so I had to make do with my, limited, human resources and the […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester International Festival: Returning to Reims, reviewed by Imogen Durant

Returning to Reims, dir. Thomas Ostermeier; HOME, July 11 2017. Thomas Ostemeier brings a work of creative non-fiction by Didier Eribon to life in this thought-provoking performance. A personal memoir with a political focus, the 2009 book by the French sociologist which gives this performance its title offers a penetrating examination of the social forces […]

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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 […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sunday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Saturday’s music, reviewed by Lucy Burns

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 8 2017. At a festival like Bluedot where so much depends on the science talks, the workshops, the demonstrations, the projections, the light shows, the readings…you’d expect the music programming to get left behind. Besides the set of fairly predictable crowd pleasing headliners (Pixies, Orbital, and alt-J) Bluedot […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Radiophonic Workshop, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 9 2017. There’s a quiet thrill of anticipation in the stuffy air of the Orbit tent, early evening of the Bluedot Saturday. It’s the bubble of knowing that witnessing the BBC Radiophonic Workshop live is likely to be a rare and unique pleasure. With Leftfield and Orbital on […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Orbital, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. With the blazing sun on its way down and the giddy full moon on its way up, the second night of Bluedot needed some suitable music-of-the-spheres to toast the glorious day. Fortunate then that techno pioneers Orbital had set aside their three year indefinite hiatus to […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: The Dark Web – explained by Geoff White, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. There’s a sense at Bluedot sometimes of the stark difference between the utopia of the open air fields and the darker undercurrent of misdemeanour inside the science talks. Not that there’s anything dangerous or dodgy going on, more that there are confrontations within these fabric walls […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Delia Derbyshire and Mary Casio, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Delia Derbyshire Day – 80th Anniversary Tribute, Nebula Stage, July 8; Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, Lovell stage, July 8 2017. At festivals, especially big ones with lots of good stuff going on, you get used to wisps of sound from other tents and stages intruding on your experience. I’ve always […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Pixies, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 7 2017. Pixies under the Lovell Telescope with talks on how the universe was formed still ringing in my ears made a strange and beautiful kind of sense. The day was hot and heavy and the crowd that waited at barriers for them for hours beforehand was already […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Sheena Cruickshank, The Amazing and Horrible World of Parasites, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s hot. I’ve danced in the sun throwing my head back, losing my hat. I’ve burnt my nose. I have an ice-cream and there are tents all round the edges of the field, they’re full of clever people giving talks. I’ll chose somewhere to sit and […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Ezra Furman & The Boyfriends, reviewed by Tessa Harris

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell Stage, July 7 2017. “This is my favorite thing to do in the world” Ezra Furman told an adorning front row at Bluedot on Friday night, “thank you for being here with me.” And as someone shouted up at them, it was a gawd-damn pleasure Ezra! With performances that are […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Professor Steve Fuller, Transhumanism: Can You Afford to Live Forever, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Contact stage, July 8 2017. You come to Bluedot for music, sure, and maybe a few fun science experiments with plastic bottles and ping-pong balls. But you also come here to wrestle with some of humankind’s most fundamental and ethically demanding questions. On the table today is a simple one: want […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Leftfield, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Orbit stage, July 7 2017. Twenty-two years have whipped past since Leftfield released their pioneering album Leftism and joined the ranks of Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and Orbital in steering British music away from the total heat-death of endless guitars. The Orbit tent is packed for a full performance of the […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Anchorsong, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Nebula stage, July 7 2017. Part of the joy of a festival like Bluedot is happening upon a spare hour and filling it with an act you’ve never heard of and know nothing about. The festival itself makes much of the idea of discovery, so much so that it is practically […]

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The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Jeff Forshaw, Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Mission Control, July 7 2017. It’s a tall order trying to explain life, the universe and everything – or at least how it all started – to a tent full of festival folk on a cloudy Friday in a field in Cheshire in forty minutes. But particle physics Professor Jeff Forshaw […]

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The Manchester Review

Manchester International Festival: Holly Herndon and Yael Bartana, reviewed by Luke Healey

Dark Matter: Holly Herndon, Gorilla, June 30; Yael Bartana, What if Women Ruled the World?, Mayfield Depot, July 5, 2017. In a blog post dated 9 March, 2017, Manchester International Festival’s Director John McGrath framed the contents of this year’s edition as ‘a picture of the world today’. While McGrath maintains that ‘We don’t set […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2017, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, June 30-July 2. So, Love Supreme is five. And there was a swing back to jazz (pun intended) this year. Topping the bill on Sunday on the main stages were Robert Glasper and Gregory Porter; and Herbie Hancock ended the day in the Big Top on Saturday. On the […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Manchester Review

Lucha Libre, Albert Hall, reviewed by Luke Healey

In 2015, the multi-Emmy award-winning television producer Mark Burnett, brains behind such reality shows as Survivor and The Apprentice, launched Lucha Underground, a weekly episodic professional wrestling show realised in partnership with Hollywood director Robert Rodriguez. Bringing wrestlers from the American independent scene and Mexico’s AAA promotion together with supernatural storylines and a pulp-cinematic production […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Manchester Review

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, reviewed by Tristan Burke

Bitter Tears: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, HOME, May 7-31. It is well known that the great West German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s work rate was prodigious. In a brief career between 1969 and 1982 he directed forty films and two television series, and wrote twenty-four stage plays and four radio plays. He not […]

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The Manchester Review

Herding Cats, Hope Mill Theatre, reviewed by Fran Slater

Herding Cats, Hope Mill Theatre, May 25 2017. Billed only as a black comedy that depicts the dark humour of loneliness, little could have prepared audiences for some of the extremes that Herding Cats would go to to demonstrate the depths to which a lonely life can take you. Justine (Kayleigh Hawkins) turns to the […]

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Marli Roode

Maxïmo Park, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

We are giddy and overdressed. Our drinks lifted above our heads, we follow each other into gaps to find our place in the crowd. ‘It’s a sold-out show, you know,’ we say to each other. We do know, but it has to be said. It’s the requisite observation at gigs, meaning a rare second place […]

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The Manchester Review

Strange and Familiar, Manchester Art Gallery, reviewed by Simon Haworth

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers, curated and organized by Martin Parr and Barbican Centre, London; Manchester Art Gallery. Located on the upper floor of Manchester Art Gallery, this fascinating exhibition brings together a diverse lineup of prominent international names in contemporary photography. Both the range of styles and approaches unique to […]

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The Manchester Review

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 […]

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The Manchester Review

The Japanese House, Gorilla, reviewed by Lydia Walker

The Japanese House: a band that have never been on my radar pops up in an email of new live shows up for reviewing. I conduct a quick Google search and find out that it is in fact the solo project of Buckingham’s Amber Bain. Who is Amber Bain? Turns out she’s collaborated with The […]

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