Some of my most cherished presents from past Christmases have been poetry collections I was unfamiliar with that have gone on to become favourite books. If you’re still not very far on with your present buying this year (or like me, haven’t even started), you might find an idea in one of the region’s recent poetry publications.

One of the poetry highlights of the last third of 2021 is Inscape by Kathleen Bainbridge, a previous New North Poets awardee and runner-up in the 2015 Flambard Prize. This engaging and elegantly crafted first collection is published by Vane Women. These poems are truly moving and heartfelt, laced with subtle language use and full of depth.

Northern Writers’ Awards winner Polly Atkin’s Much With Body (Seren) is a stylistically adventurous and deeply compelling collection of poems rooted in the landscape and the body. Polly Atkin’s poems are delivered through a unique lens and this collection really builds on her exceptional portfolio of work.

Corrigenda for Costafine Town (Blue Diode) by the talented Jake Morris-Campbell is firmly rooted in the post-industrial contemporary North East. His poems are vibrant and fascinating and well worth seeking out.

Anne Ryland’s third collection Unruled Journal is beautifully produced by Valley Press and is wonderfully varied, with prose poems, elegies and secular prayers.

Ian Duhig is one of the North’s most original and distinctive poets and it’s a delight to see the extraordinary range of his work, going back more than 30 years, in his New and Selected Poems.

Lastly, I’d like to recommend the pamphlet Loose Threads and Sacred Spaces by Elaine Cusack. These are lovely, elegantly crafted poems that have been put together and produced with great care.

 

If you’re a poet based in the North or a publisher with a new collection or pamphlet by a Northern poet and would like to be considered for future versions of this round-up, please get in touch with will@newwritingnorth.com.

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