Sometimes Real Love Comes Quick & Easy

Janine Bradbury

In this audacious pamphlet, Janine Bradbury casts her piercing gaze towards questions of form and feeling. Moments of transition – adolescence, motherhood, loss – become intertwined with contemporary culture and the complexities of heritage. Professional wrestling, pop lyrics, fast food, and family ties become talismanic. Stylistically vibrant, playfully ambivalent, these are poems that both recognise and resist the trappings of sentimentality.

“This is an exciting debut. (How to resist a collection that includes wrestling, Amy Winehouse, and jellyfish?) These are tender and astute poems that grapple with love, grief, ghosts and motherhood, and Bradbury’s voice is original and clear.”

Rachel Long

Listen to Janine reading 'while gazing at a smack of moon jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium'

An interview with Janine

Janine begins by considering the structure of the pamphlet and the guiding theme of sentimentality. She explores how the poems deal with motherhood and goes on to read 'The Empire Theatre of Varieties, Later the Eros Cinema' and discusses her interest in the building and what it evokes. Janine concludes her comments on the pamphlet by reflecting on whether the tone shifts in the final section of the pamphlet and what it means for a writer's intentions to be ‘legible’ to a reader.


Eira Murphy

Immersed in an internal geography where the self seems always to teeter on the brink of becoming other, Whetstone chronicles the disorienting and dislocating aftershocks of grief. The pamphlet navigates landscapes populated by mirrors, birds, psalters, and trees where startling images of transformation draw our attention to the blurrings of loss. These poems allow us to consider what it might mean to be forced ‘into the first person’.

“Eira Murphy’s poems are a haunting and distinctive mixture of the material and the conceptual, and the relations between them. Her poetic world is an extraordinary collaboration between the familiar and the strange, showing mental life to be an inherent product of the physical and material. The word that often comes to mind in expressing this is metaphysical.”

Bernard O’Donoghue

Listen to Eira reading 'Erasure'

An interview with Eira

Eira begins by discussing the significance of the pamphlet's title and what might be being 'sharpened' in the collection. She also considers how the encounters with the natural world in the poems are often informed by acts of violence, loss, and the interconnectedness between the animal and the human. Eira then reads the poem 'Red-legged Partridge', and thinks about how far the poems in the pamphlet frequently occupy spaces between one kind of state and another.


Eric Yip

This much-anticipated pamphlet from Eric Yip presents a subtle range of emotionally attuned poems against the backdrop of displacement and dissolution. Guided by cinema and the photographic image, these poems are visual, sometimes experimental as they address historical, colonial, and familial relationships through the gauze of remembrance. Faceted yet intimate, precise and enthralling, but above all, the confident debut of an assuredly talented writer. 

“Again and again in Exposure, a composed poetic intelligence comes up against a coiled sensuality, and the collision of the two is breathtaking. These poems speak with great originality and evocative power to the experience of straddling Britain and Hong Kong. Eric Yip is possessed of a humanely tender eye, drawn to and haunted by the moments of vulnerability that reveal us, stripped back, in our truest contours: ‘Never have I seen a man break // so completely, as if a vast crevasse / had unzipped his life.’ Exposure introduces us to an astonishing new voice, and one I will follow wherever it goes.”

Sarah Howe

Listen to Eric reading 'Ma Tau Wai Road'

An interview with Eric

Eric explains how the poems in his pamphlet take some of their inspiration from photography. He explores another concern of the pamphlet - a distrust of language - and reads 'Star Ferry Pier', discussing his relationship to Hong Kong and the representation of queerness in that poem. In the final part of the interview, Eric returns to the question of language and proposes ways in which he might make some peace with its insufficiency.

When the Flies Come

Fahad Al-Amoudi

In this rewarding debut pamphlet, Fahad Al-Amoudi blurs the lines between national and personal memory. These finely-crafted poems are rooted in the specificity of family and place, with the trappings of myth and fabulation. His speakers are restless, yet alert to the minute details of the world – movements of insects, the intricacy of jewellery, the bloom and spoil of fruit – against which we experience their coming of age.

“These poems are stubborn refractions. Al-Amoudi weds together disappeared, intertwined pasts and presents, departures and returnings, catching hold of historical resonances and their spectral tendrils. Language is lustrous. Here, it glistens with yearning, possessing the imaginative flair of the scavenger. The abyss becomes the perfect launch pad.”

Momtaza Mehri

Listen to Fahad reading 'In the time it takes to pose for a photo a country disappears'

An interview with Fahad

Fahad identifies some of the most important themes of the pamphlet, such as grief, and suggests that we might think of the collection as a book of ghost stories. He talks about the juxtaposition in the pamphlet between the main speaker and the voice of Prince Alemayehu, a real nineteenth-century figure whose fictional letters appear throughout the book. Fahad goes on to read 'Cinnabar Island' and to explore the significance of islands in his work, as well as the relationship between humans and the environment. Finally, Fahad explains some of the key cultural influences behind this poem.

Radical Pairings

Clementine E Burnley

Kinship, soil, belonging and displacement – these far-ranging poems pulse to the heartbeats of personal and historical moments from the African diaspora. Here memory and place enmesh. The quantum effects that guide migrating birds, an unnamed girl, a royal pearl and a brutalised immigrant co-exist alongside the joy and longing of family ties. In her debut pamphlet, this profound and compassionate poet creates a new space alive with songs for the unsung.

“There is such wondrous beauty in Clementine’s poetry. Her work is rich in gorgeous detail and deep rooted in wisdom and experience. This pamphlet is a treasure and I will return and return to it.”

Hannah Lavery, Edinburgh Makar

Listen to Clementine reading 'Protectorates'

An interview with Clementine

Clementine explains what the title of the pamphlet means and what kinds of 'radical pairings' readers might encounter in her collection. She reads the poem 'Thaw' and discusses her concerns with landscape and our effects on the environment. She concludes by thinking how this poem - and others in the pamphlet - examine travel and migration in ways that explore our shared humanity.

Trimming the Wick

Laboni Islam

Journeying widely across temporal and geographical lines, Laboni Islam’s work relights the languages, stories, and histories that we inherit, especially from the women in our families. Trimming the Wick explores the entangled pasts of countries, delving into personal and collective human memories that are ‘deep and stratified’, whilst being equally attuned to the more-than-human natural world. Elegant and compelling, these poems consider the responsibilities we have to those closest to us and to our planet.

“The poems in Trimming the Wick stream onto the page with remarkable and gorgeous clarity. Here, ancient waters coalesce with the steadfast precision of tall and windward leaning spruce trees, and Laboni Islam weaves together a collection radiant with knowledge of place and history. In lines that spool and unspool like ribbon, readers are invited into imaginative worlds and familial stories, all of which remain tender and exact, even as Islam fathoms the changing shapes that occur when inherited memories are painted over with western learnings. This is beautifully inquisitive and lyrical work.”

Alycia Pirmohamed

Listen to Laboni reading 'Girl Made of Shells'

An interview with Laboni

Laboni begins by discussing how Trimming the Wick ranges across geography and personal experience. She then reads the first poem in the collection, 'Salt', and considers the piece's Shakespeare references and the way it addresses the environmental crises facing Bangladesh. Laboni goes on to talk about the relationship in the pamphlet between personal and national memories and histories and particularly how those themes appear in the poem 'Hurricanes'. In the last section of the interview, Laboni reflects on the role her mother has played as a keeper of memories and as the storyteller of the family.

Finishing School

Michaela Coplen

From the first poem in Michaela Coplen’s pamphlet, ‘the mind begins this squeaking’ — an urgent impulse that never stops. Finishing School charts a young woman’s growth through an abecedarian form, each poem a letter of the alphabet that marks a different stage of learning. Encountering ‘lessons’ ranging from childhood dress-up games, to instances of intimacy, academic interviews, and funeral planning, the subject navigates an education in womanhood and power — developing her own understandings of vulnerability, ambition, escape.

“Michaela Coplen’s poems are breathtakingly constructed, and equally sophisticated in tone, perception and imaginative depth. Their apparent simplicity — as though written for the child-adolescent at the centre of many of these lyrics — belies a darkly knowing and sometimes-surreal nostalgia. Possessing the idiosyncratic cadences and confidence of a far more experienced poet, Coplen is one of the most exciting new voices I have encountered in recent years. ”

Kathryn Maris

Listen to Michaela reading 'View'

“Michaela Coplen’s chapbook, Finishing School, is a brilliant debut. This captivating abecedarian cycle enacts on the page a woman’s coming of age, vibrant in body and in mind. The imagery is lucid, the voice is intimate, restless, alive, Coplen’s lyrics cut to the quick. Here is a poet we will be reading for years to come.”

Deborah Landau

An interview with Michaela

Michaela discusses why she chose to use the abecedarian form, and why she thought it was important to explore the topic of young women in education. She also considers the role of women mentors in her life and in her writing. Michaela reads the poem 'Middle', talks about the mother-daughter relationship at the heart of that poem, and comments on how that relationship recurs elsewhere in her collection.

Editor's Note by Niall Munro

Our editing process is very hands-on and we work closely with our poets to help them develop their work. To share some of the thinking that goes on behind the scenes and to highlight a few of the themes and ideas in the pamphlets, we have introduced a short Editor's Note for each one. We hope these pieces will help readers and reviewers to further appreciate the craft of these collections.

Kitchen Boombox

Jacob Anthony Ramírez

In these vulnerable, revelatory poems, Jacob Anthony Ramírez conjures the voices of his past, the matriarchs, and the ghosts, to confess his longing for love and acceptance. Influenced by American Jazz and Mexican magic, Kitchen Boombox sings its blues of family, grief, and identity to celebrate a survival of tenderness. Where the kitchen meets the concert and the streets meet the church, Ramírez swerves from measured line to fractured form in this prismatic soundscape where dangers lurk and the sacred awaits. 

“Kitchen Boombox introduces a vital new force in contemporary American and Latinx poetry. Caught between cultures – Mexican, American, Native American – Ramírez’s poetry refuses to rest, and instead dances in a musical language as akin to jazz and Hip Hop as to any reductive cultural interpretation. Ramírez makes a poetry of tenderness and revolt that denies any easy classification. These are poems that live furiously – on the ear, on the page, and in the heart.”

Sarah Corbett

Listen to Jacob reading 'The Lives of Jazz Fathers'

An interview with Jacob

In this interview, Jacob explores the role that family plays in his pamphlet, and how poetry can powerfully represent a community and a person's heritage. He discusses the influence that the father figure exerts over these poems (and over his own life), and the place of music, food, and magic in his writing. Jacob also reads 'Maestro Milo & His Homemade Wine' and talks about the relationship between the Latinx community and America.

Editor's Note by Claire Cox

Our editing process is very hands-on and we work closely with our poets to help them develop their work. To share some of the thinking that goes on behind the scenes and to highlight a few of the themes and ideas in the pamphlets, we have introduced a short Editor's Note for each one. We hope these pieces will help readers and reviewers to further appreciate the craft of these collections.

He Said I Was a Peach

Katie Byford

Katie Byford’s vital poems resound with a chorus of restless voices. Stifled by male power and drunken violence, the women of these verses nevertheless speak, alive in Byford’s compelling writing. Persephone defies her ‘mud king’, Pygmalion’s creation describes her own drowning, Clytemnestra plots revenge in a hotel bathroom. Encountered alongside stories from contemporary life, myth embodies profound wounds which will not heal. Yet in this pamphlet, the women can be heard, enduring in their pain and fear and calling us to see them differently.

“These are breathtaking poems of a strange, deep glamour; their imagery is uncompromising, and their music utterly original. Byford composes on a scale that is entirely her own. She has a preternatural ability to capture other worlds, other Umwelten – Thetis hearing her son’s voice as 'a warm strain / softening the frozen kelp / like piss', or the shuttling dislocations of Arachne – 'weft thin / softning'. These poems return to sites of trauma or eroticism or myth in a way that renders them immediate, dangerous, and unstable; but there is a beautiful act of salvage here. The world is sifted for its stains, blisters and residues, its sensual drives, and the sticky fingers of human longing. Byford is a reckoning, an uncanny and ferocious rising star.”

Fiona Benson

Listen to Katie reading 'Salt Creatures'

An interview with Katie

In this interview, Katie tells Niall Munro about the relationship between the poems inspired by Greek myth and those drawn from contemporary life in He Said I Was a Peach. She also explains why she chose to explore certain myths and the relationship between myth and long-standing trauma as it is presented in the pamphlet through women's bodies and experiences. Katie also discusses the role of food and consumption in the poems and reads and talks about her poem 'Appetit'.


Zein Sa'dedin

Staircase is an extraordinary debut, exploring landscape, locality and the constructions of a self that inhabits and manoeuvres through many layered textures – mediated by the cultural influences of music and other artistic forms. Those familiar with the neighbourhoods on the seven hills of Amman will recognize the places named, yet all readers will be entranced by them. The Arabic script interwoven through the poems allows the printed word to reflect the literary contours and evocative images contained within this intensely crafted work.

“‘I ask my instructor how easy it is to forget origin / how difficult it is to restore a whole of fragments’. This question echoes along the staircases of Zein’s poetry. The poems travel up towards turquoise mornings and down into the Roman ruins and crowded spaces of an ancient city as it changes, a city that gazes ‘towards whatever else / is west of itself.’ These poems are tender, incisive chronicles of place, navigating the bitter sweetness of going home, the weight of time passing, and the entanglements of belonging.”

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Listen to Zein reading 'staircase'

An interview with Zein

In this interview, Zein talks to Niall Munro about how her home city of Amman in Jordan appears in the pamphlet Staircase, the role that the internationally-renowned singer Fairouz plays in her poetry, and the significance of water and the sea in her writing. Zein also reads and discusses her poem 'when fairouz asks me what language'.

Sargam / Swargam

Fathima Zahra

Poetry Book Society Winter Pamphlet Choice, 2021

Sargam / Swargam evokes a deep sense of precarity in being, belonging and in the very words we choose to mean home. This pamphlet, simultaneously forthright and fragile, touches on themes of girlhood, shame, desire and an uneasy burgeoning into maturity. Through exquisitely-wrought language and precise character observations, these poems capture what it is to grow up in three different locations, illuminating the legacies of that experience.

“In this stunning debut, Fathima Zahra speaks to all of us for whom home is a shifting foundation. Rooted in the personal, the poems reach outward. ‘You are every bridge across the Thames / and the people crossing it’, they remind us, forging connection even as they negotiate loneliness or fear. Tightly wrought, unafraid to leap, these poems are concerned with containment and dancing, tradition and resistance. Carry them close.”

Miriam Nash

Listen to Zahra reading 'London Aquatics Centre, Stratford'

An interview with Zahra

In this interview, Zahra talks to Niall Munro about how the poems in her pamphlet Sargam / Swargam chart a coming-of-age, and the influence of family figures on the speaker. Zahra also considers the tension between the need to assert individuality and also the desire to be part of a community, and the effects that movement and travel across countries and continents have had on her writing and her concept of home. Zahra also reads and discusses her poem 'Suitcase'.


Isabelle Baafi

Poetry Book Society Spring Pamphlet Choice, 2021

‘Hunger made me’, reveals one speaker in Ripe, and the desire to be satiated fills these poems. Desperate women hide grains of rice in their hair, baked beans evoke a strained father-daughter relationship, plantains endure the fire. Yet hunger takes many forms, as the risks and rewards of its satisfaction are weighed, and cravings for intimacy are charged with danger. ‘When we’re born, we’re someone else’s’, but in this daring exploration of identity and survival, we hear a thrilling new voice come into its own.

“Baafi’s poems read as daring and inventive signifiers, interrogating a myriad of complex subjects, and immersing readers in a world fortified with wit, curiosity, and unapologetic beauty. Throughout the pamphlet, her poetry tussles with the paradoxes, uncertainties, and anxieties of our current social climate; employing new and arresting forms, and infusing originality into her lines. Her writing invokes a sharp hybrid register, working to ensure an impressive display of ideas at both the word and sentence level.”

Anthony Anaxagorou

Listen to Isabelle reading 'PG Tips'

An interview with Isabelle

In this interview, Isabelle talks to Niall Munro about some of the key themes and features of her pamphlet Ripe, such as hunger; her approach to poetic form; the extent to which these poems might be considered autobiographical; and writing about religious faith. She also reads her poem 'Caul'.

Lung Iron

Daniel Fraser

Lung Iron is a highly accomplished debut that takes small observations, encounters and moments of awkwardness, intensifying and expanding them in order to explore the place of the word and our place as human beings in the economies of nature and history. These immersive poems thrive in the uncertain space between the natural and industrial, aware of their presence yet always feeling the pull of that something other which lies beyond them.

“In their alert, elegiac observation of the faded urban, the poems in Lung Iron are rich with snatched speech, questions asked from under the breath. From Gospel Oak to the Calder Valley, they move with the seasons, observing change, renewal and ‘silverish decline’ with a keen eye and an adeptly musical line.”

Martha Sprackland

Listen to Daniel Fraser reading 'Hebden Bridge'

An interview with Daniel

In this interview, Daniel talks to Niall Munro about the unusual title of his pamphlet; the various imagined and real landscapes in his poems, especially the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire; and the place of the body in his writing. Daniel also reads his poem 'Covenant'.


Kostya Tsolakis

Young, Greek and gay: Ephebos maps a fragile coming of age, exploring the shame, courage and yearning of emergent sexuality. From a sun-drenched Athenian adolescence to adulthood in England, this exquisitely wrought pamphlet confronts an abiding sense of ‘falling short’ – of being Greek, conforming to ideas of masculinity, being a good son, of communicating fully with loved ones and strangers. Above all, these poems deal with the pursuit of happiness on one’s own terms.

“Frank and tender poems, sculpted from the twinned innocence and experience of queer youth. This is poetry as archaeology: small fragments of the self exposed, a moment of hurt or lust brought up to the surface, extraneous muck brushed away, and held up to the light, so we might examine it more closely.”

Andrew McMillan

Listen to Kostya Tsolakis reading 'Athenian Light'

An interview with Kostya

In this interview, Kostya talks to Niall Munro about his relationship with Greece; how and why he explored his relationship with his parents in the pamphlet; and the role that his gay sexuality plays in his writing. Kostya also reads his poem 'Bathroom in an Athens Suburb, 1994'.

There’s No Such Thing

Lily Blacksell

There’s No Such Thing

Please note that Lily's pamphlet is now sold out.

This debut pamphlet introduces a poet with a genuine enthusiasm for their reader. There is no pigeonholing these poems; they are amusing and thoughtful in equal measure. Reading Lily Blacksell’s poetry is like watching a tragic movie, going to a comedy show and listening to an album of greatest hits on vinyl, all at the same time.

“Lily Blacksell’s poems are clever, urgent and deeply felt. That’s all I ever ask for from poetry, my own as well as others, and it’s a lot. Her work is as keenly attuned to the imagination with an intuition of the askew, as it is to our capacity for suffering and for joy. Poetry with as much soul as wit. In this form where a lot leaves you completely cold, this belongs firmly in the three percent I’d die for.”

Luke Kennard

Listen to Lily Blacksell reading 'Brook'

A Hurry of English

Mary Jean Chan

A Hurry of English

Please note that Mary Jean's pamphlet is now sold out

Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice, 2018

The sense of movement in Mary Jean Chan’s poetry is both external and internal. In this deft and assured debut pamphlet she strives to forge new relationships with her parents and country of origin, while learning to live out the beliefs and desires of her own emerging self. These poems couple rawness of emotion with crystalline language, and are a significant addition to the worlds of both poetry and queer writing in the UK.

“Sparkling and vulnerable, A Hurry of English marks the arrival of an essential new voice. Navigating tangled histories at once personal and postcolonial, Mary Jean Chan sounds fresh notes “in a language [she] never chose”. These poems bring to life a story of queer awakening, transit between cultures, and a mother’s terrifying love shaped by the legacy of political turmoil in twentieth-century China. Hovering between tongues, what Chan’s work offers us is “never an apology / but always / an act of faith”.”

Sarah Howe

Listen to Mary Jean Chan reading 'Practice'


Patrick James Errington

Patrick James Errington’s atmospheric debut comes to grips with the vastness of human experience – its memories and unique physical wilderness. The poems are the gleaning of the field of childhood, a slow gathering of what remains after loss. His dexterous use of image takes the reader to a cold yet often welcoming landscape, providing shelter with his words and using our inheritance of language as a journey, where on arrival another sense of mystery begins.

“No doubt about it – not only is Patrick James Errington a real find, the scope of his imagination, combined with psychological integrity and linguistic rigour, mark him out as a poet I’ll return to again and again. He has the strength of will to put the poem first: no stock effects, just a highly tuned poetic mind interrogating its world for the mystery, the roots of pain and the wonder.”

John Burnside

Listen to Patrick James Errington reading 'Still Life with Approaching Crow'

Shadow Dogs

Natalie Whittaker

Shadow Dogs is a collection of concise, haunting poems of suburban tales half-told, whose visceral and disturbing images are conveyed with unexpected intrigue. This is an absorbing debut delivered with acute, tender emotion from a writer who genuinely cares for their craft. These twenty-one poems herald a poet coming of age.

“Natalie Whittaker has a precise, hard-edged contemporary eye and an unusual, striking sensibility. This is the world of the present with all its incongruities – ring-necked parakeets in South East London or TV game shows watched in hospital waiting rooms. All this is presented alongside a vibrant and unapologetic confessionalism. There is so much to admire in this collection, the reader will surely return repeatedly to the poems to find more to enthral them. The current poetry scene has gained a fresh, exciting voice.”

John Stammers

Listen to Natalie Whittaker reading '96'

Small Inheritances

Belinda Zhawi

Small Inheritances reflects the dialogue between two cultures and geographies, on mistakes often made and the push and pull of ancestry and migration. The poems, born from raw suburban reality, are set free with such strong imagery, coupled with a direct lyrical energy, that you can almost hear the words on the page.

“Belinda Zhawi’s work is characterised by a global sensibility, attuned to several approaches to making a poem. Small Inheritances is a masterclass in what a poem is and can be for in the present moment. There is protest in these pages, but also a glimpse of what healing might look like, whether in a moment of intimacy or in different kinds of intoxication. There are intergenerational kinships and echoes in these poems that illuminate a poetics that so many of us have been crying out for.”

Kayo Chingonyi

Listen to Belinda Zhawi reading 'rye lane (foul ecstasy)'

Naming Bones

Joanna Ingham

In Naming Bones, her engrossing debut pamphlet, Joanna Ingham writes of the things it is difficult to say – about bodies, love, motherhood, the past. Drawing on nature, and a tangible sense of place, she explores the relationships and moments that make us what we are. These are poems of the tongue and the heart, of finding voice and speaking revealingly about what we think we shouldn’t feel.

“Joanna Ingham’s poems are robust and memorable. Here love and intimacy are portrayed with recognisable tenderness – but these are not poems that shy away from human darknesses or difficulties; they are also unafraid of their own vulnerability. This pamphlet is the black box of emotional memory; within it there are feelings that will stay with the reader, powerfully realised, written in language that dazzles and enlivens.”

Suzannah Evans

Listen to Joanna reading 'Doing the heart in Lower Five'


Jennifer Lee Tsai


Please note that Jennifer's pamphlet is now sold out.

Kismet opens with the poet as ‘the only Oriental at a primary school in Birkenhead’, a state of isolation – and rupturing of identity – intensified by the unfolding of both personal and ancestral traumas. But this is ultimately a work of hope and renewal. Jennifer Lee Tsai shows us how taking control of our own stories can create a profound sense of connection to life that transcends individual suffering.

“Jennifer Lee-Tsai’s poetry gives us a crystalline language for loss, silence and memory, where ‘breaking stabilities… like phonetic entities’ make complex the lyric fractals of familial love, violence and desire. The tremendous force of her linguistic authority here reclaims fragments of narratives – of otherness, exile and shame – to offer a self in movement, a voice fired by discovery.”

Sandeep Parmar

Listen to Jennifer reading 'Love Token'

The Bullshit Cosmos

Sarah Shapiro

The Bullshit Cosmos is a highly distinctive pamphlet that celebrates triumph over adversity, defiance against the system, success over predicted failure. The poems explore the gap between those who read with ease and those who struggle to read. Honestly written, they provide a starkly refreshing approach to our language in a poetry that is provocative and challenging, compassionate and engaging.

“Sarah Shapiro’s formally inventive poems give readers insight into new ways of learning and hearing words. The poems look back on a difficult education, ‘seven times teachers said to my face you’re stupid,’ and from this the poet ‘would resist the bullshit cosmos: know unfair.’ This generous collection gives fresh attention to reading and text while conveying a contagious, direct joy that revels in the language around us.”

Jill McDonough

Listen to Sarah reading 'When I Turn Thirty, I Have An Epiphany'

City Poems

Mia Kang

City Poems is in parts intense, abstract and irreverent but above all a strikingly accomplished debut. Mia Kang’s poems range from the occasional to the research-based, with an interest in visuality, intimacy and failure. There is an absorbing thread throughout relating to the actuality (or not) of the creation of the poems of the title. The detail is such that it is impossible not to become engrossed within these exceptional poems.

“How do we write to someone? How do we write towards a place from inside another place? In City Poems, Mia Kang engages a tradition of queer feminist modes of address between friends, leaving us with poems that feel like intimate conversations as well as annotations of being. For the poet writing inside the institutional whiteness, architectures, and borders of New Haven, New York City (and the ‘dearest counterpart’ contained within it) becomes a complicated and jewel-like source of escape, pain, and thrill—almost a lover. These gorgeous and sharp-edged poems reckon with ‘orientation’ much like a phenomenologist might, richly intoning words like here and there amidst a landscape of erotic, aesthetic, and political tethers. So that when we ask: ‘Which part/ is the libido/ and which part/ the city, which part the poem/ and which part the lack?” we might receive the answer, “Not to make/ such objects otherwise/ but in service of making/ this plane mean,/ my meaning plain./ We walked around./ We benched ourselves/ while the infrastructure/ threatened lightly.’”

Emily Skillings

Listen to Mia reading 'New Haven, August 8, 2017'


Majella Kelly

Fearless and deeply tender, Majella Kelly’s poetry is vital and distinctive. Her debut pamphlet broaches profound and abiding themes for our times, always with great assurance and stylistic flair – and often with humour. She leads us, in sometimes unexpected ways, from the darkest of injustices to a place of tranquillity: hard-won and utterly resplendent.

“Majella Kelly’s work ... has a ruminative and enigmatic quality; she is a poet of the sensed and the sensual. Ritual, cultural tradition, and the subconscious bring powerful energies to lines and sentences that flirt with the everyday while connecting to deeper and occasionally darker histories.”

Simon Armitage

Listen to Majella reading 'Hymn'


Alycia Pirmohamed

Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice, Summer 2020

Shortlisted for the Michael Marks Poetry Award, 2020

This imaginative pamphlet carefully guides the reader on their own distinctive journey to those other-lands created by migration. Alycia Pirmohamed’s poetry, often situated in the surreal, uses the metaphor of landscape and the natural world to reflect on wider themes of belonging, cultural dissonance, and homeland. There is a quiet urgency in these poems, engaging with the experience of both the loss, and the discovery of, language and place.

“Alycia Pirmohamed impressed the judges with her ability to chart an emotional landscape of identity, stretched between the geographical poles of Canadian Alberta and Indian Kutch. Gaps and rifts of this terrain, as well as its bridges and crossings, are mapped with geometrical precision. Yet these lines are created to embrace what is blurry, tentative, elliptical; tenderness hovers over the view as a fog. The disorientation serves as a stepping-stone into another dimension: the poetry soars off the map and finds its metaphysical belonging in the vision of Allah, on the connection to whom Hinge hinges.”

Judges of the Michael Marks Award

“The poems in Hinge offer a new map for a land where both heartbreak and delight reside, even if, as the speaker notes, ‘planting my palms together has never felt like blossoming up the side of a mountain...’ In the elegant build and stretch of Pirmohamed’s poetry, we are given exquisite possibilities for language and a green longing, all while she manages to stack lyricism and light in sonically surprising ways.”

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Listen to Alycia reading 'Endearments'