Senior Programme Manager, Will Mackie has rounded up some of his favourite recent releases from Northern poets. Read his recommendations of poetry collections published in Winter 2022.
The first of two outstanding recent pamphlets with strong connections to place and landscape is Painting the Mersey in 17 Canvases by Maria Isakova Bennett (Hazel Press), which is made up of strong, warm and engaging poems that communicate with the River Mersey. The second to mention here is Skinny Dip by Kris Johnson (Enchiridion Press), which takes the reader to the Pacific Northwest of the US through engrossing and richly crafted poems.
I would like to especially highlight two recent debut collections by Northern poets. Thin Slices (Verve) by Leeds-based Caitlin Stobie is inventive and stylistically bold, moving between South Africa and the UK and engaging with personal, political and scientific themes. Remembering/Disease (Broken Sleep Books) is the debut collection by Fokkina McDonnell, a Northern Writers’ Award winner in 2020. Reading Fokkina’s excellent and beautifully composed poems is a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Sandeep Parmar’s collection, Faust (published earlier this year by Shearsman Books), is a hugely ambitious and compelling reinterpretation that turns a familiar myth on its head as it examines issues of migration, grief and dislocation. The diligent Red Squirrel Press publish Northern Writers’ Award winner Andrew Forster’s fourth collection, Field Book. These careful, dextrous and contemplative poems track personal experiences alongside natural change, all the while offering original thought and precise observation. Other warmly recommended recent collections include Tara Bergin’s Savage Tales (Carcanet), Still Life With Octopus by Tania Hershman (Nine Arches) and Pippa Little’s Time Begins to Hurt (Arc).
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 [email protected]