I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Amanda Bell

Not Like The Others

A pitch-perfect depiction of life as a teenage girl in 1980s Britain

Scourging Buffoonery

Rita Ann Higgins’s new collection ranges from polemical pandemic poems to a meditation on the society which locked up its unwanted – ‘poor devils with leaky brains and acres galore’ – and a caustic satire on those Christian Irish who wish to offer asylum only to Christians.

Great Upheavals, Small Triumphs

In “The Changing Mountain”, his recent essay on the mutable parameters of elegy (Poetry London Issue 96) Stephen Sexton notes “the imperceptible change a photograph, say, undergoes when someone depicted in it has died; how these images seem, somehow, utterly changed without having changed at all”.

Rue For You

Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel historical novel is set in Shakespeare’s England, in a time of plague, a time when the playwright himself suffered bereavement with the death of his son Hamnet. The novel interprets the tragedy ‘Hamlet’, written a few years later, as a study in loss.

Digging Deep

Robert Macfarlane’s latest exploration of the natural world leaves one with the impression of the world as a hollowed-out vessel, infinitely fragile and perilously finite, a honeycomb packed with toxic waste which will ultimately disintegrate like an aged wasps’ nest.

Navigating loss

Mary Noonan’s descriptive powers recall, in their meticulous detail, Elizabeth Bishop. She is a poet of the senses – this collection is drenched in colour, from the blue of her father’s eyes to the dreamy greens of the swamps, but of all the senses, sound is perhaps the most prominent.

Attentive Living

To pay attention to one thing is to resist paying attention to other things; it means constantly denying and thwarting provocations outside the sphere of one’s attention in order to be able to concentrate on what is essential.

Love Your Hair

Hair – rather than skin colour –can be seen as the principal signifier of race and has the power to confer classification as black or not. The story of how ‘treatments’ for taming black hair were developed by black entrepreneurs is a depressingly familiar capitalist narrative.

Fernweh, Sehnsucht, Brame

Solitary travelling in remote places can be dangerous, particularly for a woman. But what is the alternative? Stay at home and never go anywhere? ‘It’s that thought,’ writes journalist and traveller Rosita Boland, 'the one of involuntary stasis, that has always filled me with genuine fear.’

Deadly Precision

A particular feature of Rita Ann Higgins’s new collection is the use of juxtaposition: essays appear side-by-side with poems tackling their subject from a different angle. It is fascinating to see this process, with the background which informs a poem laid out in prose form.