Cornrows and Cornfields is a heartfelt journey from the childhood fields of Indiana to the glittering metropolis of Chicago. Spinning together memory, popular culture and personal politics, celeste doaks makes words dance, weep, wail and sing – often in the space of just a couple of lines. This sublime collection of delightfully bold and vivid poems burn upon the mind’s eye long after the final page is turned.
Gig ticket – Deborah Bonham / Peter Bullick
Deborah Bonham: Over the course of an impressive career, Deborah Bonham has established herself as one of the finest Blues, Rock and Soul singers that the UK has produced. A string of critically acclaimed original albums and captivating standing ovation concert performances (Royal Albert Hall, London Palladium and on the extensive 2018 USA ‘Stars Align Tour’ with Paul Rodgers, Jeff Beck and Ann Wilson of Heart) have consistently garnered rave reviews.
Peter Bullick: Belfast born guitarist, lauded by the press for his passionate playing and touted by Paul Rodgers as a replacement for Kossoff should Free ever reform, exudes his influences from the world’s greatest Blues Guitarists in every note of his playing.
“Top-flight Blues-Slingers deliver in style. They’re no strangers to entertaining crowds of thousands at international Blues festivals when they’re not backing Paul Rodgers live, so catching the Bonham-Bullick band at an intimate Sold-Out venue on this occasion was an opportunity too good to miss” Classic Rock Magazine
“The album sounds great. Performances are soulful and moving” Rolling Stone
“Bonham is in fine voice throughout while Bullick’s Kossoff-inspired playing shows why Paul Rodgers values him so highly” Blues In Britain
“A contender for album of the year. It’s magnificent.
I really loved every track.” Blues Matters
“Powerfully produced and immaculately played album, Bonham and Bullick
do a fine job of making the songs their own.” Classic Rock
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John Hartley Williams’s Canada explores a country of the mind, where whatever mania comes to mind becomes its own reality, and writing happens automatically. In Canada, poems arrive out of the ether like the fabled, lantern-jawed Mountie coming to the rescue out of nowhere. Others are on their way back into the ether, transmissions from the brain of an uneasy redman. These are poems which make you feel like the hairs on a pony’s neck. Canada opens in the backwoods of autobiography and narrative, then reports crisply on the alarums of sex and desire. After crossing the frontier, a final coda blows innocence off the map for good and all. Shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize 1997.
From the moors of northern England to the cities of Western Europe, the poplars of the Thames to the sands of the Nevada desert, the poems in Kidland rise from ancient landscapes to confront a society in denial about its relationship with nature, memory and destiny. On barrows and mountains, in yellow fields and green woods, Kidland offers up a radical, uncompromising vision of broken connections and darkening futures. Images, dreams and prophecies, human and inhuman, dominate the pages of Paul Kingsnorth’s debut collection, finding their fullest expression in the narrative title poem, in which reason meets wildness among the dark pines of the north, and certainties are broken like empty promises.
This beautifully intricate collection betrays a gimlet eye for detail and a huge passion for the tiny dramas of everyday life. Kath McKay’s dense and fragmentary lines wind themselves around the subconscious, recounting the quiet firestorms that fuel human relationships and the seismic reverberations that can often ensue.
Philip Fried’s Squaring the Circle is humorous and yet also mysterious in its evocation of esoteric physics and theology. The title poem presents a mystic/scientific quest for an impossible geometry as both a vaudevillian historical catastrophe and a way of understanding God. Throughout, Fried uses pastiche and the mashup of texts to explore historical moments and personal history. Behind its many forms and approaches, however, the book conveys the strong sense of a “persona”—the feeling, as Stanley Kunitz once said, that the poet has imagined a person who could write these poems.
Mark Granier is a meditative observer, offering us moments of suffused, painterly stillness. In his work there is no undue clamour to be heard, no flashy flailing about in order to be noticed. This might seem to be diffidence, but I perceive it as integritas. He is resolutely detached, has wit, is visually acute, verbally precise, finely tuned and formally in control. Yet you can feel his keen mind at work. – Liam Ó Muirthile