What I’m reading: August 2021

This month: Andrew McDonnell, University Centre Peterborough

Andrew McDonnell is the course leader for English literature and creative writing at University Centre Peterborough. His poetry collection, The Somnambulist Cookbook was published by Salt in 2019, and he is an editor at Gatehouse Press and Lighthouse Literary Journal. Andrew is passionate about publishing marginalised voices, especially around working-class literature, as well as widening participation in HE.

Witch by Rebecca Tamás

This poetry collection is alive with power and the way language can be used against oppression.

Running through the book are spells that are visceral and imagery that is surprising and wholly original.

It does what good poetry should do: lift our snow globe and shake it violently so everything looks different.


Ghostland – In Search of a Haunted Country by Edward Parnell

Living in East Anglia often makes for an uncanny experience, given MR James based so many of his ghost stories here.

Parnell’s book takes a tour through English literature’s uncanny landscape, and as he grew up in the Fens, a large part of this book focuses on novels and stories set here.


Turner by David Dabydeen

John Ruskin, when writing on Turner’s painting ‘Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying’ (1840) only briefly mentions the drowning slaves in a footnote.

Dabydeen, in a series of visionary cantos, gives voice to a drowning man, and as readers we come to face a history that has been submerged. Dabydeen’s poetry is vital.

You might also like: Meet the lecturer: Nigel Crook

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