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The Last Dinosaur in Doncaster is an exuberant journey down the ginnels of Yorkshire; from The Miners' Strike and its ramifications, to men who should have been astronauts and no-nonsense women who get stuff done. These poems celebrate the importance of belonging, in all its gritty splendour.
In Your Absence is a response to a year of bereavement, a murder and a trial, estrangements, departures and insights. Troubled by ghosts, these poems are ultimately a gift to anyone stranded in the whiteout of loss.
In Rosalind Easton's lively and inventive debut collection, everyday objects are invested with glamour and drama: a mascara wand and a pair of peacock suede stilettos are brought to life in poems exploring the complexities of relationships, and a Mayfair lingerie store provides the setting for a transformative bra fitting experience. A diverse range of literary and cultural references inspires several poems, with the poet's grandmother coming back to life as a book to 'play intellectual drinking games with Shakespeare', and Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor taking over the running of a secondary school. In other poems, Tilda Swinton's magazine photo shoot as David Bowie sparks an exploration of the relationship between history and identity, and a night at the Shepherd's Bush Empire with Suede becomes a celebration of the enduring power of teenage memories.
When I Think of My Body as a Horse centres around the experience of infertility and baby loss with a wider focus on body ownership and motherhood. The poems follow a totemic animal theme rooted in nature through which the poet explores her own experience of the loss of her daughter, an IVF baby, during an emergency c-section in 2010. The poems in When I Think of My Body as a Horse are about trauma, but they are also about recovery and the powerful, animal instincts that surround the act of creating a family, and how this is absorbed and accepted as part of a wider narrative when there is no 'rainbow baby' to add closure to the trauma of loss.
Talking to Stanley on the Telephone rummages through the desires, frustrations and waning faculties of old age. The stories it tells add up to a vivacious celebration of life-spans and the darkening comedy of growing old.
It's Not Personal evokes a life, from childhood in the Fifties through the challenges and eccentricities of the workplace, to the unpredictability of love, life and death. These are poems concerned with truth; but just as importantly, with what it means to tella story.
A Commonplace is a dialogue about how poetry is made and how it makes a difference to our lives. Jonathan Davidson's quiet but distinctive poems - including pieces from the 17th Century, from Kyiv and Lisbon, and from Finland and Nicaragua - are complemented by outstanding work by sixteen other poets and translators. Littered with unruly footnotes and featuring a gazetteer and bibliography, A Commonplace invites the reader to experience poetry as a lived art form.
Opening a Different Window: A Poetry and Illness Anthology is a collection of poetry written by people with experience of chronic illness. Inspiring, challenging and sometimes funny this anthology can't fail to move you.
If you know there was more to the seventies than boogie nights and flares but can't quite remember what, then this is the book to fill in the gaps. Jim Pollard's first novel reads like a thriller, it has pace, bite and great humour. It turns the music industry, punk rock and growing up in the 70s inside out. But it's a book about frailty as much as fame; about a man coming to terms with who he is, with the values of friendship, his own vulnerability and search for selfexpression. Merciless yet honest.
The poems in Andrew Forster's third collection continue his explorations of what it means to make a home: from Cumbria, where he now lives, to South Yorkshire where he grew up, this book is firmly rooted in the north of England. He works as Literature Officer for the Wordsworth Trust and the ghost of Wordsworth, that supreme poet of home, haunts many of these poems. As the poet approaches middle age, this is a book of settling down, of beginning to be content with what we have managed to distil from life.
Allison McVety's first collection, The Night Trotsky Came to Stay (Smith/Doorstop, 2007), was the overall winner of the 2006 Book & Pamphlet Competition, and was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize 2008. Her poems have appeared in The Times, The Guardian, Poetry Review and Poetry London, have been broadcast on BBC radio and anthologised in the Forward Poems of the Decade 20022011 and The Best British Poetry 2013. A second collection, Miming Happiness, was published in 2010. In 2011 Allison won the National Poetry Competition and in 2013 was recorded at the Southbank Centre for the Poetry Library's 60th anniversary. 'Allison McVety's third collection is built around her National Poetry Competition winning poem, 'To the Lighthouse', an account of the poet's revisit to Woolf's text after her mother's death. Lighthouses, then, is a book of new clarity and revelations, mothers, fathers and ghosts of the past. McVety's talent is for sensuous detail, meticulously crafted moments and a grasp of rhythm that makes her work begin to read like memories of your own. Prizewinning poems aside, this collection is packed full with beacons of light.' - Poetry Book Society
Part selfportrait, part love affair, the poems in SelfPortrait with The Happiness are obsessed with moments elsewhere. Rural England contends with immense Chinese cities via Thailand and Japan. The effect is a collection which craves the exotic in the everyday: puppeteers communicating through their puppets, sonnets sketched on the snowy rooftops of cars and Chinese dragons flying above the Lakeland fells. David Tait is one of the most exciting new voices in contemporary poetry, and this eagerlyawaited collection confirms the promise of his pamphlet, Love's Loose Ends, which won the Poetry Business Competition, judged by Simon Armitage.
Best known as a writer of crime fiction - notably the 12 volume Charlie Resnick series - and as the mainstay, for two decades, of Slow Dancer Press, John Harvey's own poetry has perhaps stayed too long below the radar. This, his first collection in sixteen years, brings together the best of his two earlier books, Ghosts of a Chance and Bluer Than This, along with a number of new poems which show a greater depth and maturity and variety of form, further fusing together the intimate and personal with a passionate understanding of music and painting and the ways in which they can affect and illuminate our lives.
Weighing the Present includes poems about family and wider society, often through brilliantly evoked particular details and specific scenes from 'everyday life'. Short linked poems, which amount almost to sequences, deal with difficult material - elegies for lost friends for instance - while still remaining somehow lifeaffirming. At the heart of the book are tender but unsentimental love poems. A new collection from Michael Laskey is always a cause for celebration.
Charmed Lives: charmed as in surviving, as in getting away with it, as in possessed, as in fortunate. The lives and moments in these poems are about being vulnerable, getting by and sometimes being at one with the world. This visually evocative and grounded writing is able to cross and recross the divide between the familiar and the strange.
Jonathan Davidson has a loving, observant and wry regard for the frailties of the human condition. He makes fresh something we thought we knew; writing of the everyday the way Vermeer might be said to paint it.' - Maura Dooley
Poets like Cliff Yates only come along every so often, like eclipses or rare migrating birds, and, like an eclipse or a rare migrating bird, Cliff Yates should be gazed at, parked near, and written about. People often talk about poets being fresh, and they mean fresh like bread, likely to go stale. Cliff Yates is fresh like the very first crack of dawn is fresh: unique, unrepeatable, full of promise.' - Ian McMillan
Stanley Cook (19221991) was much admired in his lifetime but never achieved the popular audience and critical reputation his work deserved. Cook went his own way, sanguine about the fashions of the poetry establishment, and quietly writing some of the most readable, intelligent and vividly achieved poems of our time.
The Selected Poem ebooks are a new 'digitalonly' series drawn from the works of smith|doorstop poets published during the last 26 years. Michael Schmidt was born in Mexico in 1947. He studied at Harvard and at Wadham College, Oxford. He is Professor of Poetry at Glasgow University and a Writer in Residence at St John's College, Cambridge. He is a founder (1969) and editorial and managing director of Carcanet Press Limited, and a founder (1972) and general editor of PN Review. An anthologist, translator, critic and literary historian, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and received an O.B.E. in 2006 for services to poetry.
Catherine Smith's first acclaimed collection The Butcher's Hands was a disturbing and exciting book. Lip moves on from its grotesqueries and grand guignol to a fierce, often frantic eroticism, seen, as in the earlier book, through the language of the human body; clothed, stripped, skinned, examined with forensic detail. As in Heckmondwike, a litany of dangerous pleasure, in this book there are no safe words.
I like the way good food and diction go together so clearly. Geographically [these poems] excel, and in so many other directions too. The poems are different to what one normally gets in English, the issues far bigger, as in "e;Dhimmi Under Sharia Law"e; (A Lawyer's Poem) and in many others that one may benefit from. Such excellent poems show how different customs can nevertheless blend, especially in, "e;We Speak English Now."e; I also very much like, "e;That I May Know You:"e; "e;Let me visit your houise/and eat something/of what is on your table/hear you and know/some of your language."e;' - Alan Sillitoe
Allison McVety's first collection, The Night Trotsky Came to Stay (Smith/Doorstop, 2007), was the overall winner of the 2006 Book & Pamphlet Competition, and was shortlisted for the Forward Best First Collection Prize 2008. Her poems have appeared in The Times, The Guardian, Poetry Review and Poetry London, have been broadcast on BBC radio and anthologised in the Forward Poems of the Decade 20022011 and The Best British Poetry 2013. A second collection, Miming Happiness, was published in 2010 and a third, Lighthouses in 2014. In 2011 Allison won the National Poetry Competition and in 2013 was recorded at the Southbank Centre for the Poetry Library's 60th anniversary.
Overall winner of the 2009 Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition, chosen by Andrew Motion.
Gerard Benson was born in London and lives in Bradford, where he is the city's poet laureate. A Good Time is his fourth collection for grownups.
Central to the title poem of Voting for Spring is the long human struggle for survival against ice and cold. The poem makes contact with our present climate crisis, as well as suggesting a dimension which is more personal.
Michael McCarthy grew up on a farm in West Cork, Ireland. His first poetry collection Birds' Nests and Other Poems won the Patrick Kavanagh Award. His children's books have been translated into seventeen languages. He works as a priest in North Yorkshire.
Steve Dearden's stories are populated by real people with real jobs and real desires and fears; and in the rhythms of the dialogue and the scaffolding of the terse descriptions, we find loneliness, and majesty, and a belief in humanity that gives your heart a lift.
River Wolton grew up in London and lived in Sheffield for twenty years before moving to Derbyshire. She is a freelance writer and facilitator, and was Derbyshire Poet Laureate 2007-9. This is her first fulllength collection.
"e;Allison McVety's follow up to 2007's The Night Trotsky Came to Stay is a paean to the everyday."e; Poetry Book Society
A puddle, a lighthouse, the financial crisis (in three parts) or seeing a goal scored from a passing train, these typically sharp-eyed and brilliantly inventive McMillan poems often can't being very funny, while also being, as usual, more serious than they seem, and more hurt.