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A Book of Rooms by Kobus Moolman

-Reviewed by Afric McGlinchey- The multi-award-winning South African poet Kobus Moolman begins his seventh poetry collection with a quotation by Georges Perec: Even if I have the help only of yellowing snapshots, a handful of eyewitness accounts and a few paltry documents to prop up my implausible memories, I have no alternative but to conjure…

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Best Friends Forever (ed. by Amy Key)

-Reviewed by Fiona Moore- Emma Press anthologies – charming, quirky, heartfelt – are becoming part of the poetry landscape.  Best Friends Forever celebrates female friendship.  Editor Amy Key says she found that most people’s favourite friendship poems were male, with themes such as brotherhood, war and intellectual rivalry.  So an imbalance is being redressed: I…

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Entomology by Helen Clare

-Reviewed by Jessica Traynor- In Entomology, Helen Clare uses a sonnet sequence on insects as a lens through which to explore love, history, broken relationships and the pleasures and dangers of courtship. In these engaging poems, the insects the poet has spent her life observing become an intriguing microcosm for humanity as a whole. Although…

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ROME by Dorothea Lasky

-Reviewed by James O’Leary- It’s rare to be excited by a table of contents, but that’s where my anticipation rose. Titles like “Why poetry can be hard for most people”, “Never did amount to anything”, and “You think language is silly until it happens to you” signaled the entering of a world free of affectation. Lasky’s use…

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The Naming of Cancer by Tracey S Rosenberg

-Reviewed by Fiona Sinclair- The title and acknowledgements to this collection suggest a sequence of poems following the treatment and aftermath of a cancer diagnosis. This in itself may appear depressing even off putting and indeed it contains some uncompromising poems about the realities of the disease including its effects not just on the patient…

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Myrtle by Ruth Wiggins

-Reviewed by Wynn Wheldon- I thought I was going to have trouble with this, what with the first poem being all right justified and containing words with spaces between their letters for no very obvious reason. But then I decided that since it was called ‘Against Perspective’ I’d chuckle instead. My fear was dispelled by…

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The Dog Runs On by Merie Kirby

-Reviewed by Bethany W. Pope- Merie Kirby’s first collection, The Dog Runs On, is a fascinating discourse that centres around what it is like for a poet to look at the cruelties of the modern world through the warped crystalline lens of myth, and the ways by which repetitive violence can render even the kindest,…

The Mask by Anthony Costello

The Mask by Anthony Costello

-Reviewed by Paul Goring- Anthony Costello’s The Mask is a skilled, demanding, ambitious, haunting and in many senses a very neoteric collection. The constant stream of fragmented memories, striking and domestic images and the unrelenting stream of cultural references and analogies test and challenge the reader throughout. The poem ‘Winter’ neatly combines the domestic and…

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Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes by Kerrin McCadden

-Reviewed by Afric McGlinchey- ‘Make of my life a few wild stanzas.’ In the opening poem of this collection, a young girl asks a tattoo artist to inscribe these words on her back, along with the ‘ink blue flash’ of a barn swallow. Using conceit as her principal device, with recurring images throughout the collection, Kerrin…

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The Other Side of Sleep ed. Cherry Potts

-Reviewed by Cathy Dreyer- I wanted to like the Other Side of Sleep: Narrative Poems. I like the idea of breaking rules and so I was looking forward to this anthology, billed as ‘25 poems which break the rules —starting with the no-more-than-40-lines rule’. While many of the poems here did grow on me, I…