Tuesday, April 29, 2014

book review: andy humphrey's a long way to fall

Andy Humphrey's first collection, 'A Long Way To Fall' was published by Lapwing Press,  in 2012.  Andy runs the monthly poetry event 'Speaker's Corner' in York, and he understands the value of an arresting start to a poem:

'They snatched me out of swirling sea'

(The Mariner's Return)

'It's the sugar I can't stand'


This 60-page collection is a good example of the importance of editing, redrafting, and not rushing into publication. Every poem has earned its place, and it feels like a collection that draws together different themes. Many poems are narrative poems, written in the first person, and a strong mythical thread, that encompasses past and present, runs throughout the collection:

'He didn't get as far as Valinor.
Instead, he put ashore at Birkenhead,
and discovered rock and roll.'

(I Know Where Gandalf Lives Now)

There are also poems that describe, with great imaginative precision, personal experiences involving love, travel, and loss:

'I tell you about the tea shop
with the higgledy-piggledy floor
where the waitress mixed up the Lapsang Souchong
and I sketched the flowery lady in the hat.'

(Bringing Back Poems)

I hope we won't have to wait for too long for Andy's second collection.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

poetry snapshots: claudia jessop

Love Poem, with Obsolete Technology


Rotary, manual,
the round drag of days,
the sliding feed of paper
round the cylinder, under the bar,
the bar like a horizon,
the paper like the sea.

The rubber stamp’s stamp,
the wrapping in brown paper
of precious weight
secured with string,
with thumb-pulled knots.

The circle of the postmark,
of the watchface,
of the dial.
The watermark’s grave echo.


This photograph in a frame, on a desk
will stabilise, set free.
You stand
against a backdrop of the sea.

But once I have written you down,
you will pose, eyes heavenward,
like a matinee idol,
publishing your smiles.
My poem of you
will create artificial conditions
as if for a fish to live
outside water, stretching breath
in raw air.

The small machines of words
will cut your perfect shape: you will look up,
right at me

not like one long gone, not like one
failing to be delivered,
leaving no mark.

Claudia Jessop lives in Hackney with her husband, son and daughter. She works in a library, runs poetry and reading groups for children, and conducts research into local history. Some of her articles have been published on the Hackney Society's website.
This year Cinnamon Press published her second collection, Looking For. Her first collection, also from Cinnamon, was This is the Woman Who (2009). She has published poetry in several magazines and has had poems and short stories placed in several competitions. You can hear her reading one of her poems at the Poetry Magazines website.
I'm very much looking forward to reading Claudia's new poetry collection, and couldn't resist posting a photo of the beautiful cover, which, I think, works very well with Claudia's beautiful poetry:



poetry snapshots: david cooke

I always enjoy reading new poems by David Cooke, and hope to see more from him in the future. We're very lucky to see one of his new poems, Pilgrims, here. Thanks, David! He has recently had poems published in The Cortland Review and London Grip Poetry Review, and on websites The Screech Owl and The Dock, with a forthcoming poem in the Irish Literary Review. David's excellent latest poetry collection, Work Horses, is available from Ward Wood Publishing, and he also has a page on the poetry pf site.


for Ziyad, Tamim & Rafiq

When the day has come,

you will make a journey

to the city of Mecca.

Each of you a pilgrim

dressed in white,

you will cast the stones

that set you free

from Shaitán, the evil one.

Circling the Ka’aba

you will feel around you

the crowd surging

like a river in spate;

and though it’s a distance

I cannot travel,

the scallop shells

on my school badge

made me a pilgrim too

like those who had tramped

to the far-flung shrine

of Santiago

de Compostela

York Literature Festival HUB 2018 event, Tuesday, 20th March

I'm looking forward to my first event for absolutely ages - at the York Literature Festival HUB. Many thanks to YLF and Valley...