New Poetry from the North: Summer 2021

NWN’s poetry expert Will rounds up some of his favourite new and recent releases from poets in the North.


I’d strongly recommend Jenna Clake’s new collection, The Museum of Ice Cream (Bloodaxe), which explores how the demands of the modern world intensify and add complexity to troubled relationships with food. These poems feel fresh, personal and vivid and are always involving and memorable.

Just shortlisted for the Forward Prize, Kayo Chingonyi’s second collection, A Blood Condition (Chatto), is brilliantly engaging and moving. Formally daring, it explores loss and change in poems that move from Zambia to Newcastle and London.

It’s an unforgettable experience to read The Heeding by Rob Cowen and Nick Hayes (Elliott & Thompson), a collection of poems and artwork tracing how our collective relationship with the natural world shifted, deepened and renewed over the course of a year of pandemic.

The Resurrectionists (Bloodaxe) is the outstanding first full collection by the North East-based poet John Challis. These are engrossing and vivid poems that capture often disquieting little-told stories of London, full of narrative drive and a variety of voices that feel real and lived.

Thinking With Trees by Jason Allen-Paisant (Carcanet) is a wide-ranging, intricate and contemplative collection. Later in June sees the publication of Away From Me, the second collection by Caleb Klaces (Prototype), a lyrical and adventurous poet and a singular, distinct talent. Lectio Violant is the new collection by Steve Ely and is published by Shearsman. A B Jackson’s eagerly awaited new collection, The Voyage of St Brendan (Bloodaxe), is also published in June.

Hannah Hodgson’s recent pamphlet, Where I’d Watch Plastic Trees Not Grow (Verve), is the work of a poet with a rare ability to not only move the reader, but transform our way of thinking and deepen our reserves of compassion. Another recent pamphlet I’m very much looking forward to reading is In Your Absence by Jill Penny – a bold and daring poet.

Lastly, A Vertical Art by Simon Armitage (Faber) gathers his insightful and entertaining public lectures given during his four years as Oxford Professor of Poetry.



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].

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