REVIEW: JANE COMMANE’S ‘ASSEMBLY LINES’

REVIEW: JANE COMMANE’S ‘ASSEMBLY LINES’

Assembly Lines, Commane’s subtle, complex début collection, explores the impact of growing up in an era of decline, and the ambiguity of emotional attachment to its landscapes. To vistas that are “nondescript”, “forgettable” and like “Morris, Austins and Talbots, slightly crap, even when new”, she brings an appreciation more traditionally applied to the natural world, together with a determination to […]

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REVIEW: BEN ARMSTRONG’S ‘PERENNIAL’

REVIEW: BEN ARMSTRONG’S ‘PERENNIAL’

“The whale king extends a flipper, walk with him”. To get the most from Ben Armstrong’s début collection, Perennial: Notes from a Weatherproof Journal, set aside your hesitations about the weirdness of this command, and go with it. You will be rewarded with a trip through an internal landscape that is spare, surreal and in places impenetrably strange; but which also […]

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FIRE & DUST MEETS: HOLLY WATSON

FIRE & DUST MEETS: HOLLY WATSON

We don’t want to pigeonhole you, so – in your own words, can you tell our readers what you do and what you’re about. I write a blog called The Coventry Conch about growing up on the outskirts of the city in the 90s and early 00s. […]

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INTERVIEW: FIRE & DUST MEETS PETER RAYNARD

INTERVIEW: FIRE & DUST MEETS PETER RAYNARD

PRECARIOUS BY PETER RAYNARD Smokestack Books
ISBN 978-0-9957675-9-1 £7.99/95 pages
“Young Timmy knows how to enjoy himself, / he cleans double breasted windows, / or checks under the sink for some / scantily clad plumbing, before delivering / a whipped cream double entendre […]

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INTERVIEW: FIRE & DUST MEETS NYANDA FODAY

INTERVIEW: FIRE & DUST MEETS NYANDA FODAY

In October 2016, Nyanda Foday became the 11th Birmingham Young Poet Laureate, a respected post that lasts two years. She has also worked with Beatfreaks, organising and performing at Beatfreak poetry events, and working to promote them. A regular at gigs across the city, Nyanda describes herself as inspired by the impact that words can have, and aiming to […]

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REVIEW: DEBORAH ALMA’S ‘DIRTY LAUNDRY’

REVIEW: DEBORAH ALMA’S ‘DIRTY LAUNDRY’

DIRTY LAUNDRY BY DEBORAH ALMA Nine Arches Press ISBN: 978-1911027416 £9.99/80 pages Reviewed by: Stella Backhouse For me, the turning point of Deborah Alma’s debut collection Dirty Laundry comes near the end. Until that point, Alma’s poems brim with with people: friends, family and – most notably – lovers. With the lovers, it usually […]

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REVIEW: ANDREA MBARUSHIMANA’S ‘THE AFRICA IN MY HOUSE’

REVIEW: ANDREA MBARUSHIMANA’S ‘THE AFRICA IN MY HOUSE’

THE AFRICA IN MY HOUSE BY ANDREA MBARUSHIMANA Silhouette Press ISBN: 978-0993431524 £6.00/53 pages Reviewed by: Stella Backhouse A few lines into ‘Hyena’, the opening narrative of Andrea Mbarushimana’s short prose and poetry collection The Africa in my House, the unnamed narrator casually observes that “the buses are not […]

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Three Benefits of Pre-ordering The Rituals Issue

Three Benefits of Pre-ordering The Rituals Issue

Start your new year with some quality literature. Benefit Number 1: Free goodies included in the parcel If you’re one to get excited with little goodies included within a shipping, especially for books, this is your chance to get one. HCE strives to give our readers quality material to read along with the magazine, such as the occasional […]

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REVIEW: ROY MCFARLANE’S  ‘BEGINNING WITH YOUR LAST BREATH’

REVIEW: ROY MCFARLANE’S ‘BEGINNING WITH YOUR LAST BREATH’

‘Home’ should ideally be the definition of ‘security’; but in Beginning With Your Last Breath, Roy McFarlane’s deeply affecting debut collection, the poet navigates the complexities of creating identity amidst a double-dose of unease. Firstly, growing up black in a society that could seem – at best – ambivalent to his presence within it; and secondly, discovering that the couple he knew as Mum and Dad were […]

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