poetry book review roundup

Hummingbird by Sophia Elaine Hansen

Microwave Noveau by Liam Bates @wordswithpurple

Shot Glass Confessional by Cyrus Parker


These are 3 short poetry collections. All different.


Sophia Elaine Hanson is the bestselling author of The Vinyl Trilogy and Hummingbird was her 1st poetry collection. She has written another 2. It’s a good book.


I cannot remember a great deal of Microwave Noveau, other than I liked the tone of the writing and the topics that were written about. Liam Bates has a pamphlet coming out from Broken Sleep books on the 17th of June, titled Working Animals

undefinedI’m trying to not buy more books, I’ll probably make an exception for this one.


undefinedShot Glass Confessional is good. It’s short, the poems are short. It isn’t my favourite by Cyrus Parker. I loved Masquerade.undefined


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Four Questions with Martin Grey

 

 


 

1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

 
I’m a Nottingham based performance poet and event organiser. I spent the best part of a decade writing poems I barely showed to anybody, before starting a now defunct poetry blog in 2011 and nervously taking to the stage for the first time in 2013.

 
My poems tend to be about little details and connections to people, objects and time, but I also write nonsense and found poetry when the mood takes me. I try to layer a positive social or political message into my poems, but generally prefer to leave it under the words for people to find. I consider it a compliment if three people read a poem of mine and take three different meanings.

 
I’ve always been drawn to nuanced and character focussed writing, especially in poetry and song lyrics. I used to blow my early teenage mind exploring all the possible meanings in 90s lyrics from the likes of Richey Edwards and Gruff Rhys. Today, I still find that poets who have had the most influence over my writing tend to explore these same themes. Mike Garry’s poem “Made in England” is a great example of this.
My writing is also strongly influenced by how many incredibly talented poets there are in the East Midlands. Just seeing great poet after great poet at an open mic is often enough to make me work extra hard on a poem, in the hope it can hold up next to everybody else’s!

 

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

 
I promote through my social media accounts (instagram, youtube, facebook) and a website. While I do find these useful (it’s great if you want to get people to your event or livestream, for example), I also find they have limited value on their own, and keeping them active can be to the detriment of my own focus. All that said though, you should definitely follow me.

 
I personally think the best promotion, especially locally, comes from not actually promoting, but from being present, being genuine and being aware. Talk to people at events, give people confidence and a platform where you can, tell that instapoet why you liked their poem, make sure you’re on the mailing list, apply to whatever you can and be nice to people. I personally find these help create more opportunities and add time to my own writing, because they fill my mind with ideas and remind me why I love doing it.

 

3, What projects are you working on at present?

 
Quite a few at the moment. My first book, The Prettyboys of Gangster Town, is due out later this year with Fly on the Wall Poetry, which I’m super excited about!

 
I’m also closely involved with two local groups, DIY Poets and World Jam. At DIY we run quarterly events, monthly writing support meetings, and produce what we believe is the longest running free poetry zine in the country, although we’d love to meet a group with a longer running one. At World Jam we try to facilitate global poetry and music through events and workshops, by getting people together from as many different backgrounds, native languages and styles as we can.

 
I was also going to start bringing some spoken word theatre shows to Nottingham, but unfortunately all that has gone on hold at the moment. I guess I find it hard to say no to poetry things!

4, What does poetry mean to you?

As horribly cliched as this sounds, it really does mean the world to me, because it’s good for me in so many ways. It’s friendship. It’s belonging to a community. it’s being part of something positive and being able to help open doors for others. it’s educational, teaching me a lot about how other people feel and process what comes their way. It’s a therapist with unlimited time to help me come to terms with any difficult times I face. It’s also made me much better at taking constructive criticism!

 
On a different angle, it’s also a marker of how good something can be. In a great poem, the words seem to dance on the page or paint great works on the walls of the venue. There’s nothing quite like that breathe out moment, when somebody’s poem gets right into the blood cells of everyone in the room, and the only tools you need for that are a pen and the back of an envelope. It’s magic.


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Website Facebook Instagram

 

https://www.youtube.com/martingreypoet

 

 

Masquerade by Cyrus Parker.

Every poem in Masquerade by Cyrus Parker I want to put my arms around and embrace. As somebody still discovering their identity I can relate all too well to Parker’s words. I enjoyed this book more than their first book, as I felt I could relate to the poems more.

cpm3d

 

 

Fixer-upper

self-confidence is built in layers,
the same way a house begins

with bare bones before becoming a home:
and just as each house has its own layout,

there isn’t only one set of blueprints,
one right way to build self-confidence.

sometimes it starts from the inside out
as one learns to love themselves, and

sometimes it starts from the outside in
as one projects the person they hope to be.

sometimes, you have to tear everything
down and start over from the ground up.


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From New Zealand. Poems from Digging Holes to Another Continent, a poetry chapbook by Isabelle Kenyon ( @kenyon_isabelle )

Hahei Beach at 7pm

Heads bobbing like seals,

squeals the unique frequency of teenage years

too old to play sand castles,

adrenaline – coursed veins cannot process the cold without an allergic reaction

(survival purpose: unconscious

attract attention,

a male,

procreate).

Bodies of potential,

naturally bleached

by gentle sun rays.

The Drive To The North

Sea lappinThoughtsg at car tyres,

soft sparkles,

sky a pale imitation of waves

rising in mountains

then mole hills –

the sirens call for human toes to step

in over

the edge

‘I dare you’.

Beach Thoughts

Yesterday you were beautifully pearly sheened,

white warmth in your embrace,

calm, serene.

Today you give me the washed up,

chewed up

spat out –

no cushioned sand but

pebbled words and

seaweed clings to your tongue,

sours –

You are not who I thought you were.

It did not take a tsunami

but a tidal wave

to change your heart.

Review Quotes:

Kenyon explores the difficulty of dealing with a loss in a place far removed from where the loss occurred. She also interrogates the complicated emotions felt upon returning home to a familiar setting, now absent of those loved ones associated with home… Ultimately, Digging Holes to Another Continent is a small but powerful chapbook that carries the reader through the ups and downs of travel, family, love and loss. The final poem (which I will let you read for yourselves!) is an extremely strong and thought-provoking finale. Definitely readable in one sitting, Kenyon’s poems each tell a story on their own, but collected into a chapbook, create a captivating narrative you won’t regret reading.’ – Beth O’Brien, Mad Hatter Reviews


Poems Fossil Fuel & Cycle. Written by Barry Fentiman Hall.

Fossil Fuel

I did not want it
This longing for a stone
That I will never find
Evidence of life lived
I held it once
A clean slate
Under grey flat skies
At Staithes sluice
Seaworn and smooth
My perfect ammonite
Was fuel for my heels
Salted my battles to come
My father spoke for me
Said I did not want it
So it was left, like my father
Washed by the North Sea
They both lived once
And they shone for me

Cycle

The sound of morning
Whistles in my ears
Machine noises off
My body and the cars outside
Indistinguishable
It recalls Acomb dawns
When dragons drew breath
On far rails at the edge
Of my senses
My ride to work past
Adverts for Meat Is Murder
And the smiles of Ashfield Girls
At my streaming hair
Was a time of dreaming
My youth training scheme
Waiting to wake me
From such anticipations
I am fully woken now
Four pills down by 7am
Is how I greet
My oldest friends
That burn in my heart
And ache in my bones
I would not miss them
Not in the slightest
This is the road to admission
That those times
Will not come again
Posting pictures of wilt and weeds
To good people staring
Through the other side
Of the looking glass
Is how I pass my ride
This is a new cycle
Morrissey is not what he was
And the college gates are gone
The queen is dead boys
The queen is dead
But I am still alive
And that boy still rides
If you look deep
In my eyes, blue still
After all these years
Of sleep

BIO – BARRY FENTIMAN HALL

Barry Fentiman Hall (BFH) is a writer based in the Medway region of Kent. He is primarily a poet of place. He has been published in several journals such as Picaroon, Anti-Heroin Chic, I Am Not A Silent Poet, and Crack The Spine. His debut solo collection The Unbearable Sheerness Of Being was published by Wordsmithery in 2015. His latest book England, My Dandelion Heart has just been launched (Wordsmithery 2018) . He is also the host of Roundabout Nights, Chatham’s oldest regular live lit night and the editor of Confluence Magazine. He has been a commissioned writer for Northfleet Big Local, Wandering Words, and 23 Submarines. He has a thing for hares.

Fossil Fuel and Cycle were published by Wordsmithery in England, My Dandelion Heart

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