The Lost of Syros – ‘short yet graceful’ stories

April 28th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Front Cover The Lost of Syros 9780993211928 Hi-ResFor those that like their reading to be short yet graceful I can’t recommend The Lost of Syros highly enough. Emma Timpany’s fabulous short stories, of which there are 16, are to be read on that long train journey or whilst sitting up late at night with a glass of something to sip whilst you dip in and out of the pages.
Locations bound as you journey through the individual stories, with descriptive feelings more than actual descriptions conjuring up the sense of place that each story explores.
The characters and places explored here will remain a while after their particular journey or visit is over, which is a lovely thing in my eyes.

So reads the review of Emma Timpany’s short story collection,The Lost of Syros,  by ‘NC’ in My Cornwall Magazine, April-May 2016.

A review on Literature Works (reviewer not named) gives further praise, citing this collection as “an example of just why the short story is celebrating something of a heyday.”

The stories contained within the collection are skilfully crafted delights which demonstrate a precision and decisiveness behind every word appearing on the page, a technical style which is reminiscent of modernist writers such as Katherine Mansfield. Interestingly,Mansfield’s presence is echoed in the simultaneous efficacy and richness of the writing and also in the use of her biography to provide subject matter for some of the stories such as ‘Painting Katherine’. For me, the result of Timpany’s decision to use Mansfield in this way added to the strength of the writing itself lends a haunting quality to the work which stays with you and provokes thought, long after the final page of the last story is devoured.

The Lost of Syros costs £12 plus p&p. Buy two or more books from this website, and post and packing is free. Go to the book’s page for more details and to order: The Lost of Syros

The Light Box by Rosie Jackson – seen, felt, and heard

April 25th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

9780993211973-Perfect4-FRONT COVERRosie Jackson has been reading at several events to launch her debut poetry collection, The Light Box, and there will be many more opportunities to meet Rosie, hear her read, and get hold of this beautiful book. We don’t do e-books at Cultured Llama, and when you see and feel our books, as well as read from them, you will know why. If, like us, you lift a book to your nose to smell the new pages, run your hands over the cover and feel the weight of the book, then you will appreciate the experience of a physical book, and the author reading from it at live events makes it even better. Rosie Jackson has events lined up into next year; they are listed at Events.

The next best thing is hearing Rosie read her poems online, and you can find several of her poems at The MacGuffin. You can search by the author’s name or look for #culturedllama for readings by our other authors, including Vivien Jones and Maria C. McCarthy. Rosie’s poems can also be found on Soundcloud.

The Light Box is reviewed by Ian Pople in the Manchester Review, where he mentions the joys of the physical features of this book:

The Light Box is a very handsome book. The cover features one of Stanley Spencer’s Resurrections […] The poems inside are equally handsome and well written and Spencer features in those. Spencer put aside his first wife to live with his second, Patricia, in a ‘white marriage’, but persuaded his first wife, Hilda, to remain as his lover.  And Hilda features in the poem  ‘Hilda Carline Spencer’, and ‘The Apple Gatherer’ both of which are narrated by Hilda.  Artist narrators also occur elsewhere in the book:  Picasso, Georges de la Tour, Daguerre in Paris in 1839. And other poems are more directly ekphrastic as in ‘Recovery Stroke’ subtitled ‘after Grainger McKoy’s sculpture ‘Recovery Wing’, 2010’.  As such, these pieces do grapple with the difficulties of representation, in the artists’ comments ‘straight to camera’ as it were, through Jackson’s projection of what the artists might say.  Or, as noted above, Jackson imagines monologues about the artist’s lives.  Jackson has a sharp line in persona poems:  Her Uncle visits Vesuvius in one poem;  Penelope muses on her life without Odysseus; John Donne arrives in Heaven; and Leonard Woolf, Eurydice, Lazarus, Mrs Thatcher and Margery Kempe all appear.

The Light Box costs £10 plus p&p. Buy two or more books from Cultured Llama, and postage and packing is free. Go to the book’s page to order: The Light Box




More praise for Memorandum: Poems for the Fallen

April 20th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Memorandum-9780993211942-Perfect-REDESIGN-FRONT-COVER-smallMore reviews for Memorandum: Poems for the Fallen by Vanessa Gebbie. All the reviews received so far, and there are many, point to this being an important collection of war poetry.

Greg Freeman had this to say on Write Out Loud:

This collection, a work of extensive research and empathy, is a reminder of the huge variety of war memorials that exist, and their importance to us; lest we forget. Vanessa Gebbie has found something new and worthwhile to say in poetry about war, in a way that is both moving and unsentimental, and that also widens and refreshes our understanding of that terrible conflict.

Nick Cooke, on London Grip, refers ‘to several absolute tours de force which will long remain in my mind’. He goes on to say:

The collection’s title poem, subtitled ‘Battlefields of the Somme’, is worth quoting in full, for its muted yet awestruck sense of survival balanced against scarcity and littleness, where the words ‘a few’, ‘residue’, ‘too small’ and ‘fragments’ carry magnified significance:

		If you walk the broad-shouldered fields
		around Longueval, consider
		the dusty beet that wait
		in patient ranks beneath
		the mid-September sun.
		And if you stop to rest
		by a stand of beech trees, sky-lined
		not thirty minutes since,
		and uproot, absent-minded,
		a few blades of grass as you sit,
		consider too the root-clung residue,
		the iron motes too small
		to call harvest, and paler
		fragments, too painful to name.		

As we approach the centenary of the Somme on 1 July, I can think of no more fitting tribute than Gebbie’s outstanding collection. It deserves a place among the most striking and moving testaments of the last hundred years, and will leave an indelible impression on all who read it.

Strat Mastoris also reviews Memorandum: Poems for the Fallen on his website:

I’m not going to quote from ‘The specials – poem for seven voices’, as I want you to come completely fresh to something which is really quite extraordinary. It’s set in a Great War cemetery in France, and the title mentions seven voices, so I might tell you that it evokes for me the voices of the drowned sailors at the beginning of ‘Under Milk Wood’. Vanessa Gebbie is Welsh, like Dylan Thomas, and she has the same ear for the richness of language. I’ve read this poem many times, and I’ve also seen it performed by a group of seven readers. It’s humbling to listen to, and unforgettable.

Order Memorandum: Poems for the Fallen for £10 plus p&p. Buy two or more Cultured Llama books, and postage and packing is free.

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