New American Best Friend – Olivia Gatwood

Learning to Read #12 When I was a teenager I read a lot of Stephen King – as well as the shock and horror, I found myself drawn in by his incredibly acute, frank and accessible descriptions of everyday life as an American teen. It didn’t relate to anything I knew, it wasn’t the same teenage experience that… Continue reading New American Best Friend – Olivia Gatwood

Kendal Poetry Festival 16/6/17

Performance #1 So the doors to the performance area are open because the room is packed, and the Lake District evening air is sneaking in to listen, and there is a hint of road noise and bird song, and one or two yoof outside. In and amongst all of this, you have live poetry and… Continue reading Kendal Poetry Festival 16/6/17

Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong

Learning to Read #10 There is a lot to like in this collection of poems – it got hugely positive reviews in the US when it came out last year, as you can see from my meta-poll of the years books, and the Cape Poetry edition in the UK has also been warmly received. It is intense,… Continue reading Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong

No Map Could Show Them – Helen Mort

Learning To Read #7 I enjoyed “Division Street”, with the Sheffield references, with the knowing glances back at the 1980’s and with the sense that the poems were forged from the base metal of working class northern England. This was something that I could relate to. I came to “No Map”, in contrast, with a slight sense of confusion. This was a book that… Continue reading No Map Could Show Them – Helen Mort