Raking Light – Eric Langley

Learning to Read #13 What a contrast. At the same time as I was reading Olivia Gatwood, I was also reading this book. On the one hand; street wise, personal, straight talking oral poetry. On the other hand; complex, compelling, crafted, dense poetry that you kind of have to keep a dictionary on hand to…

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…

Dirt – William Letford

Learning to Read #11 Firstly, if you get a chance to see this guy perform, take it. The way that he brings his words to life, with cadence and accent, and an easy charisma – it really transforms what you have on the page. I saw him at the 2017 Kendal Poetry Festival and the room…

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,…

Falling Awake – Alice Oswald

Learning to Read #9 I’m not a big fan of poetry that plays with the layout a lot; word art and lines that go up and down, or round. I’m a bear of simple brain, and it makes me mutter under my breath about sixth form trying to be clever for the sake of being…

Say Something Back – Denise Riley

Learning to read #7 First and foremost the title – this whole blog could be summed up with those three words. My attitude to poetry could be summed up in those three words. Poetry, in my opinion, is not a passive, spectator sport – it invites a response, a comment, a creative reaction to write something…

“Our Numbered Days” – Neil Hilborn

Learning to Read #3 This was a Christmas present 🙂 I load up my Wish List with enough books to keep me going for five or six months of the year, and then it’s back to the library again until my birthday in November. My reading habits really outstretch my budget! I was very curious…