Tag Archives: Happenstance Press

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The Third Miss Keane by Tom Cleary

–Reviewed by Fiona Sinclair – The Third Miss Keane presents the Ireland of another era, seen through the eyes of an observant child with a rich imagination, brimming with characters whose eccentricities make them seem both human and mystical. Each poem forms a detailed narrative character study. Many of the titles bear the character’s names: Mattie, Angela, Old Billy. The…

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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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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…

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Hannah, Are You Listening? by Hamish Whyte

-Reviewed by Rishi Dastidar–   ‘Charm’. And immediately, in front of your screens, I see your hackles rise, suspicion in your eyes. For ‘charm’ in the poetic context is dangerous. Very dangerous indeed. Here is a posit: that ‘charm’ is an even worse word to use in the description and criticism of poetry – even…

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Poetry Bingo by Maria Taylor

-Reviewed by Harry Giles–   Poetry Bingo is, most obviously, a game. Each of Maria Taylor’s four cards features a traditional 7×4 grid with 16 carefully-selected poetic moves – from thousand-dollar words (“shards”, “breast”) to formatting conceits (“strike-through”, “…”), from structural ploys (“very long clever title”, “stirring epigraph”) to hard-to-find absurdities (“wolf-love”, “custard”). Taylor imagines…

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The Last Walking Stick Factory by David Hale

-Reviewed by Angela Topping– The Last Walking Stick Factory is Hale’s first pamphlet of poems, yet there is a feeling of maturity in the work. These poems have been a while in the crafting; there is a slow patience at work which sits well with the main theme of trees and wood. There is also…

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Envoy by Tom Vaughan

-Reviewed by Judi Sutherland- Tom Vaughan is not this poet’s real name, but a pseudonym necessitated by his job in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, where discretion was his trade. I’d be surprised if he gives many readings of his work. What we can deduce from his poems is that he has worked in Washington DC,…

‘Close’ by Theresa Muñoz

-Reviewed by Afric McGlinchey– As the title of Theresa Muñoz’s chapbook suggests, these are poems that have ‘been felt’ as Elaine Feinstein puts it. The poetry in Theresa Muñoz’s début chapbook has an almost haiku-like clarity, accessible and delicate, full of the imagery of early love: ‘the old rain glowing in the street’; ‘your hand…

‘Spinning Plates’ by Richie McCaffery

-Reviewed by Afric McGlinchey– Richie McCaffery’s Happenstance Press pamphlet, Spinning Plates, is a collection of layers, interweaving birth and death, each of them with an arresting element. There are miraculous survivals, such as his own mother’s, abandoned as a baby on a doorstep, ‘tiny lungs like strawberries / full of pneumonia. ‘ There’s the late…

Poetry Pamphlets: A 2011 Top Ten

-Assembled by Claire Trevien– Pamphlets make the perfect Christmas present or stocking filler. For one, they’re usually gorgeously produced objects, for another there’s something manageable and enticing about their small size. So, if you’re trying to convert a loved one to poetry, you could do worse than spring one of these chapbooks on them. This…


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