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Reviews and The Sparks

I was talking with the poet Conor O'Callaghan the other week about the dwindling number of poetry reviews published these days, particularly by the bigger publications and magazines. When his first full collection, The History of Rain, came out in 1993 with Ireland's Gallery Press, it apparently received around 25 reviews; I sincerely doubt many first books - even those published by the commercial presses - receive that kind of critical attention nowadays.

Unsurprisingly, poetry pamphlets and chapbooks (or short collections) receive even less attention from print magazines, with the notable and admirable exception of a few, particularly Poetry London and its autumn round-up of their 'top ten' (or so) pamphlets of the year. Increasingly then, much reviewing of poetry seems to take place online, in magazines like those I mentioned here recently, and on various widely-read literary blogs. And why not? Many of these blog writers are published poets and reviewers for print and online magazines themselves (myself included), so the blog is the perfect vehicle for reviewing books and pamphlets that print magazines don't have the room for.

One such writer is Tony Williams, a poet soon to have his first collection published by Salt, who also keeps a poetry blog featuring occasional reviews. And I was delighted to discover recently that he's written a generous and insightful review of my pamphlet The Sparks, the second to appear this year, on the back of Noel Williams' piece in arts magazine Now Then. Williams' review also takes in Matthew Clegg's sequence pamphlet Edgelands, published last year by Longbarrow Press. Worth checking out.

Comments

Mairi said…
Looking forward to your upcoming review of The Brand New Dark. Thanks for the link to Tony Williams' blog. I ordered The Glass Swarm on the basis of his review and will keep an eye open for his collection.
Ben Wilkinson said…
Not a problem, Mairi - hope you enjoy the Bennet. Kind of Tony Williams to also review my pamphlet - do you have a copy? If you're interested, just let me know.

As for my review of The Brand New Dark, it'll only be an 'In Brief' piece, but I hope it's suitably illuminating.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…