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Strangeways by Ann Matthews     

 -Reviewed by Fiona Moore- This is a book of verbal collages.  The poems trace a North Manchester city-scape of decline and desolation.  Description of moments and places is mingled with scrambled song lyrics by local bands and occasional scraps of street speech, shop notices, or fragments of officialese.  Here is the whole of ‘Industrial Estate’:…

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An Eschatological Bestiary by Oz Hardwick

 -Reviewed by Steve Nash- An Eschatological Bestiary is not an easy pamphlet to define.  The poet tells us that the collection is ‘a complete exegetical interpretation of the dramatic rise of an apparently semi-permanent moral blank’, which is handy.  Part conceptual poetry collection, part apocalyptic encyclopaedia, created through surrealist techniques, and accompanied by Max Ernst-inspired…

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The Half-Life of Fathers by Vanessa Gebbie

 -Reviewed by Bethany W. Pope-             Vanessa Gebbie’s debut collection, The Half –Life of Fathers, is a smooth, polished production that treats the evolution of a family history. The poems are crafted with a great deal of skill; there are no edges that threaten to cut you, every line ends on an interesting word, and…

Faber New Poets 12 Declan Ryan

Faber New Poets 12 by Declan Ryan

-Reviewed by Richie McCaffery- I was recently reading a 1989 review of Richard Wilbur’s Collected Poems by Ian Hamilton in which Hamilton talks of the ‘ringingly emotive punch-line’ endings of Wilbur’s poems. I think this phrase can be turned on its head for Declan Ryan, who seems to have a knack for coming up with…

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Alternative Beach Sports by Michelle Madsen

-Reviewed by Tom Weir- Alternative Beach Sports is the first collection by Michelle Madsen, a poet who has already made a name for herself on the performance poetry scene. It is a dense collection, packed full of the energy, urgency and humour people who know her work will be familiar with. It is a striking…

Observing the Observables #3

Observing the Observables #3

-Reviewed by Andie Berryman- At first glance this volume of writing and graphics seems quite testosterone-fuelled, kind of a kickback 1990s slacker re-imagining of the popular diaspora of late sixties biker culture offerings such as Easy Rider and Steppenwolfs Born to be Wild. The choppers are there but they’ve run out of fuel, they serve…

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Dark Matter volumes 1 and 2

-Reviewed by Penny Boxall- The yellow covers of these super-cute mini-collections are mysterious and inviting: think Aubrey Beardsley’s The Yellow Book, neat and minutely printed. Each volume showcases eight pages of poems from two poets; volume one features Mandy Maxwell and the series’ editor, p.a. morbid. Eight pages is a small space in which to establish…

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Nasty Little Intro #8 by Carmina Masoliver

-Reviewed by C.A. LaRue- If I had the technological skills, I would render this review wholly in GIF’s so that you might see for yourself how amazing this poet—a dead-ringer for Xena (Yowser!)—sends words flying by as fast and as buzzing as if they were swung on the tip of the Warrior Princess’ sword. Then again,…