Poet and novelist Nick Laird's second collection, On Purpose, is released this coming month, and having read an advance proof copy (I'm reviewing it for the winter issue of Ireland's excellent literary magazine, The Stinging Fly), I can confirm it's well worth the nine quid that Faber will most probably pirce it up at. You'll have to read my review to get the full lowdown (or at least my version of it), but there are some very impressive poems in there, substantially building on the styles and themes explored in 2005's To a Fault. Oh, and as a taster, US and Boston University literary magazine AGNI have early versions of a couple of poems from the collection, 'Statue of an Alderman in Devon', and the atmospheric and richly descriptive 'Hunting is a Holy Occupation'.
POETRY IN MOTION Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land , to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement , who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood th