Poetry Round-Up 2014

-by Claire Trévien-


It’s been a busy year for published poetry over at Sabotage Reviews, we’ve reviewed in the last year around 124 poetry titles, including anthologies, pamphlets, collections, and magazines. This increase in activity is all due to our wonderful reviewers, which includes regulars who’ve been writing for us for a few years now (like David Clarke, Billy Mills, Hayden Westfield-Bell,…) and fresher blood (like Anja Konig, Alice Allen, C.A. LaRue,…). We appreciate the work they’ve put in so much that we created a new category in the Saboteur Awards to reward reviewers. The shortlist this year consisted of David Coates, Charles Whalley, Afric McGlinchey, Fiona Moore, Rosie Breese, all excellent writers, and could have included many more besides this.

Here are our most viewed poetry reviews from this year (as of today):

  1. Nonplaced by Amy Ekins – reviewed by Harry Giles
  2. Kim Kardashian’s Marriage by Sam Riviere – reviewed by Charles Whalley
  3. Last Difficult Garden by Paige Taggart – reviewed by Billy Mills
  4. Faber New Poets 12 by Declan Ryan – reviewed by Richie McCaffery
  5. The Book of Scented Things (ed. by Jehanne Dubrow and Lindsay Lusby) – reviewed by Claire Trévien
  6. I LOVE ROSES WHEN THEY’RE PAST THEIR BEST (ed. by Harry Burke) – reviewed by Rosie Breese
  7. The Charnel House by Tom de Freston et al – reviewed by Hayden Westfield-Bell
  8. Annexe Introducing: Meander by Milou Stella, Hunters by Dorothy Lehane, Sketch by Eley Williams – reviewed by Charles Whalley
  9. Faber New Poets 9 by Rachael Allen – reviewed by Charles Whalley
  10. Enemies: The Selected Collaborations of SJ Fowler – reviewed by David Clarke

Beyond our borders

That’s just a small snapshot of the work that has been reviewed this year. We’ve had a particular interest in reviews highlighting publishing scenes outside of the UK, this has manifested itself particularly as a focus on France and New Orleans. This year, Morgane Rémy reviewed a few French language collections, Fleurs by Jean-Baptiste Cabaud and Sylvia by Antoine Wauters. Meanwhile, I reviewed a French translation of Noni Benegas’ Animales sagrados and interviewed French poet Lysiane Rakotoson on differences and similarities between our two cultures. Paris-based English-language magazine The Bastille also got a going over. C.A. LaRue on the other hand has given us two fascinating round-ups of the best Louisianna has to offer: 1001 Louisianna Nights, and New Orleans Small Press Poetry.  We have also continued to review works published in translation, such as I Live I See by Vsevolod Nekrasov, I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust by Yu Xiang, and hope to continue to do so next year.


Handcrafted Poetry

We’ve enjoyed reviewing some beautifully crafted works over the year, including Holly Corfield Carr’s embossed MINE,  Sue Rose’s art-pamphlet Heart Archives, Victoria Bean’s handmade take on the Harlot’s Progress This is Not a Love Thing,  Maria Taylor’s poetry bingo cards, Box[Ed.] a new magazine that comes in a pie box, the beautifully crafted Elbow Room and Germ, and Daniel Hales’ multi-modal Tempo Maps. For Books’ Sake delivered one of the most gorgeous poetry anthology hardbacks we’ve seen in years with FURIES, while Tom de Freston crafted an impressive poetic graphic novel with The Charnel House. We’ve been once again impressed by MIEL’s pamphlets, but also by The Emma Press which has been consistently creating beautifully illustrated pamphlets and anthologies throughout the year.



Best Collaborative Work was another new category at the Saboteur Awards, and we hope to review more of this type of work. SJ Fowler’s work with the Enemies project deservedly received multiple reviews, but other works included Angela Topping’s collaboration with textile artist Maria Walker, Kevin Reid’s collaboration with George Szirtes, David Attwooll’s collaboration with painter Andrew Walton, and of course Kirsten Irving, Jon Stone and Cliff Hammett’s Riotous, which won the award.



Pamphlets of course dominated the reviews once again, and we were very pleased to discover a whole slew of new presses such as TellTale Press, Literal Fish, FlightFeather Press, Thamesis, Hercules Editions, Tapsalteerie,… As well as returning favourites such as Happenstance Press, The Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, The Emma Press, Burning Eye Books, Pighog Press, Nasty Little PressAnnexe, Flarestack Poets, Poetry Salzburg, Oystercatcher Press, Tall Lighthouse, and many more… The winner of this year’s Saboteur Award for best pamphlet, W.N. Herbert’s Murder Bear was published by the now sadly closed Donut Press.


Editor’s Pick

Because no end of year round-up is complete without a bit of bias, I thought I’d include fifteen reviews published on Sabotage Reviews this year that I think more people should have read.

  1. The Ascent of Kinder Scout by Peter Riley – reviewed by David Clarke
  2. I Live I See by Vsevolod Nekrasov (trans. by Ainsley Morse and Bela Shayevich) – reviewed by Sarah Hymas
  3. Captain Love and the Five Joaquins by John Clegg – reviewed by by Alex Josephy, Alice Allen, Denise Saul, Fawzia Kane, Janet Stott, and Lily Blacksell
  4. Ship of the Line by Penny Boxall – reviewed by Richie McCaffery
  5. Don Dreams and I Dream by Leah Umansky – reviewed by Keiran Goddard
  6. Ground Work by David Attwool and Andrew Walton – reviewed by Hayden Westfield-Bell
  7. Beast by Frances Justine Post – reviewed by Cecilia Bennett
  8. An Eschatological Bestiary by Oz Hardwick – reviewed by Steve Nash
  9. The Footing (ed. by Brian Lewis) – reviewed by Billy Mills
  10. Mimic Octopus: an anthology of poetic imitation – reviewed by Ira Lightman
  11. Temple by Kristen Case – reviewed by Rebecca Tamás
  12. Ikhda, by Ikhda by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi – reviewed by James McLoughlin
  13. The Fruit Journal by Tom Watts – reviewed by Harry Giles
  14. Waffles by Matthew Welton – reviewed by John McGhee
  15. Hannah, Are you Listening? by Hamish Whyte – reviewed by Rishi Dastidar

On that note, enjoy the festivities, and see you next year!