I am delighted to have permission this week to share a review of Be[yond].

It was reviewed in the North 52, spring 2014, by artist Lauren Schneider, who has worked as a gallery manager and Arts Award advisor:

After a lot of travelling last weekend, I managed to snatch more ease yesterday, and with it the time to sit down and finish several pamphlets.

The first is Richard Moorhead’s The Word Museum, from Flarestack Poets. I love the construction of this as pamphlet; it feels so finished and thought-out. This is not a typical museum; it is very much a living one, with ‘object-poems’ that are simultaneously beautiful and thought-provoking.

The ‘exhibits’ are brought to life through the language, images and metaphors. As a reader, I can see, feel, smell and hear them in use. There is humour too and, above all, this being poetry, the words are always exciting, always in motion and creating new, startling, moving and beautiful connections.

through the woods from Fairacre Press is not so much a poetry pamphlet as a creation of paper and ink beauty. Slightly larger than a typical poetry pamphlet, it gives both the artwork by Peter Tinkler and the poetry from David Calcutt and Nadia Kingsley plenty of room to breathe. It also emphasizes air/space as just one of all the elements vivid in this book.

The pamphlet opens with some stunning artwork from Peter Tinkler – of trees, the moon and mysteriously beautiful night/dark wood creatures.

The sequence from David Calcutt, ‘Dinmore Woods’, is one of nature and forest but also people. It has the feel of a modern mythical journey through a place of many voices. These voices are human, animal, plant and mineral, with the journey of place and people very much intertwined.

‘Bridging the Unpath’ by Nadia Kinglsey is one long poem with a more experimental layout and use of language. Narrative here is much more fragmented, and crackles with the sounds of language, names and nature in a mesmerising/enchanting flow. Amongst the soundscapes, a conjuring of visual snapshots, which is rather like watching a fast-alternating slide show. The quick movement between these making one want to return and read again.

That at, least, is my interpretation of this wonderful book. At the end, there is a short note from all three on the creation process and inspiration behind the art and poems. But this is also very much a book that invites you to feel free to open the pages and create your own journey through it.

Looking ahead with my own work now, I’m delighted to be headlining at Worcester Speakeasy in a month’s time. This takes place upstairs at The Old Rectifying House in Worcester (WR1 3NN) on Thursday, November 13 from 7.30pm. I’m aiming to mix some poems from Be[yond] in with some of my recent competition poems and a preview of some new work from next year’s collections. And maybe the odd more performance piece too.

I haven’t written any spoken word reviews in a while. But just to acknowledge that I’ve some hard acts to follow at Worcester SpeakEasy, including this month’s set from Antony Owen. Reading from this joint collection with Joseph Horgan, The Year I Loved England (Pighog Press), Owen really brought out the musicality, and beautiful metaphor and imagery of these poems. And this, in a wonderfully understated way. The dynamics of the set were further enhanced (not that they needed to be!) by his being joined by two female poets to give different voices to these poems of real people, also highlighting that once out there, these poems do belong to the people who read and share them.