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Showing posts from June, 2009

Magma 44

The latest issue of Magma (No. 44, Summer 2009) includes my reviews of Mark Doty's eighth book of poems, Theories and Apparitions, John Agard's Darwin-inspired Clever Backbone, and Rob A Mackenzie's debut collection, The Opposite of Cabbage.

The issue also contains new poems by Alan Buckley, Alison Brackenbury and Sheenagh Pugh, among many other features, including an interview with Jackie Kay (pictured on the issue's cover, above). Find out more here.

Lily Allen Shocks Glastonbury Crowds Dressed As Hyperactive Girl From Hit Children's TV Series Lazy Town

Above (left): Lily Allen pictured with guitarist and bassist at this year's Glastonbury Festival
Above (right): Lazy Town star Stephanie sporting her trademark garish hair

Five Houses Down

Praise be to The New Yorker, that most revered of American cultural magazines, and to Paul Muldoon, it's poetry editor, who recently appeared on The Colbert Report, reading his poem 'Tea' and indulging Colbert's gently mocking, wry brand of humour.

Why? Because I've just found a brilliant poem by Christian Wiman on the publication's website, which conjured that instant, wonderful sensation of lifting the top of my head clean off and smashing the frozen sea of daily routine, as Emily Dickinson and Kafka would have it. I seriously encourage you to read it.

And while you're there, take a look at Don Paterson's excellent poem 'Rain', the title piece from his new Faber collection due later this year. That's another which transports you somewhere else in its cinematic sweep - a welcome detour and distraction from whatever work deadlines are looming over you this afternoon. Humorous and seriously thought-provoking - you can't ask for much more th…

Oxfam Poetry Night - Four Sheffield Poets

Oxfam Poetry Night @ Oxfam Bookshop (West St / Glossop Rd)

featuring four Sheffield poets:
Frances Leviston, Chris Jones, Helen Mort, and Ben Wilkinson

Wednesday 15th July, 6.30pm - 9pm

£2.50 donation on the door and free poetry CD

Reviews: Jacob Polley & Colette Bryce

For those interested, my review of Picador poet Jacob Polley's first novel will appear in this coming week's TLS(June 12 2009).

In the just-published issue of Stand, vol 9 (1), I'm informed that my review of Colette Bryce's third book of poems, Self-Portrait in the Dark, also appears.

Poetry Feature: Carrie Etter's The Tethers

Blurb writers often describe debut poetry collections as "long-awaited", but I can honestly say that I've been looking forward to Carrie Etter's first collection for a good while, having enjoyed many of her poems in magazines, not least the TLS.

And now I happily find that Etter's first book, The Tethers, is to be published later this month by Seren. Having already attracted praise from the likes of Glyn Maxwell and Robert Crawford, it promises to be a highly distinctive and original collection of poems, partly given Etter's fertile imagination, but also her background as an American-born poet who has lived in the UK for many years, drawing on poetic traditions from both sides of the Atlantic.

I'm delighted, then, to feature The Tethers here on the Wasteland, and include a poem from its pages below. I hope the collection attracts the prize shortlistings it will no doubt deserve, and would encourage readers who enjoy witty, sophisticated and thought-provokin…

A Pint for the Ghost

photograph by Katie Utting


A fair few poetry readers who drop by these parts might already know of Helen Mort, a Sheffield-born, Cambridge-based poet who won a Gregory Award in 2007. Her first pamphlet of poems, the shape of every box, was published the same year, and I'd recommend getting hold of a copy if you can - it's a good read full of distinctive, musical, lyric poems that are accessible, candid and sometimes marked by deft, even dark, humour.

But Mort also has a new pamphlet in the pipeline, and one which is rather unusually accompanied by a "one-woman poetry show": A Pint for the Ghost. This, as the show's curious blog states, "is set in a deserted pub after hours where strange characters come to introduce themselves. From the phantom miner at Hanging Flatt to the spirit in the hospital x-ray machine, the ghosts of Derbyshire and South Yorkshire saunter in for a drink with me. Join us at the bar when the show is finished later in 2009."

It promise…