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Lapstrake by Wendy Pratt

– Reviewed by Bethany W. Pope – Wendy Pratt’s latest pamphlet, Lapstrake, shares many qualities with the technique which bears its name. In shipbuilding, a ‘lapstrake’ is a method of construction wherein the planks overlap across the hull like waves, or the scales of a dragon. If one plank is damaged, or removed, the whole thing falls to…

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True Tales of the Countryside by Deborah Alma

  – Reviewed by Sarah Hymas – True Tales of the Countryside is a pamphlet of self-discovery, and a wry celebration of adult independence. The introduction (by Helen Ivory, whose recent book Waiting for Bluebeard covers similar themes, albeit very differently) lays out the book’s exploration of feminism and identity, the power of language and folklore. The introduction is an unusual addition, albeit one…

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Opting for Glaciers: Hove-to is a State of Mind by Mark Carson

– Reviewed by Simon Zonenblick – Mark Carson hooked me on the opening page of this twelve poem collection, when he described ticks as “handsome.” ‘Cherangani’, the first poem of Hove-to is a State of Mind – deservedly commended in the 2011 Troubadour competition – recounts the poet’s early morning experiences among Kenya’s Cherangani hills, taking…

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Reasons by Rupert M. Loydell

– Reviewed by Penny Boxall – Though light in physical weight, Rupert M. Loydell’s Reasons is a seriously heavy volume. The first section is obsessed with seeking – and often failing to find – reason in music, other people, even fairground attractions. This is a collection about the desperate weight of absence, and its almost…

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The White Silence by Jane Routh

– Reviewed by JPL – Imagine, if you will, what the media response would be to a human mission to Mars: interminable news interviews, discussions of the politics and scientific challenge, the opportunity versus the cost of investing so much, with so many other pressing matters. Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated attempt to discover the North-West…

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The Withering Room by Sarah Sibley, Review #31

 -Reviewed by Claire Trevien- I’ve read Sarah Sibley’s The Withering Room several times now, each time feeling frustrated at my inability to hold on to any of it. If asked ten minutes after reading it to describe it, I struggled to remember a single thing. Nevertheless, I persisted, returning to it every few days during…