Editorial – Book Round-Up

Since starting AoO we have published work from 241 poets around the world. Most appear just the once, but several have a couple of poems here each, and a select group of 19 have had three or more poems on the site. Obviously, with this latter group: we like their work.


Boltini (a.k.a. Tony) is a firm favourite with me, and his book Narrow Ruled Feint with Margin is available from Half Moon BooksTony has that great gift of a voice that is very distinctive, and I would bet on myself to spot a Boltini a mile off in an anonymous pile of poems. He also has the knack (like Wendy Cope) of blending real wit with poignancy. Tony has never heard of Facebook, and typically turns up at poetry events with poems hand-scrawled on disorganised sheafs of A4 paper (hence the book title) but this book is the dog’s bollocks and if you enjoy the style of AoO, and only buy one book on this list  – in my opinion it should be this one.33-Oz-Hardwick-(web)

Oz Hardwick is something of a polymath. He lectures in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University and is respected as both a medievalist academic, musician and journalist. His poetry is genuinely eclectic, encompassing a huge range of styles and voices. He has a new book out, The House of Ghosts and Mirrors available from Valley Press, who also published his previous collection The Ringmaster’s Apprentice. His new book was recently the featured publication over at Atrium PoetryValley Press were behind Remembering Oluwale which won the Best Anthology category in the 2017 Saboteur awards, and their Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry (co-edited by Oz) was picked out as a recommended collection by National Poetry Day. The Valley Press brand is becoming something of a seal of quality. 


We rather strenuously object to editors self-publishing in their own magazines (if your poems are good, send them to someone else) but before his appointment as a co-editor here at AoO, I published several poems by Nick Allen. Nick’s debut pamphlet The Necessary Line, also by Half Moon Books, has just been released, and whilst the publisher shop seems to be down at the moment, I can pass on purchase requests to Nick via the AoO address algebraofowlsinfo@gmail.com.


Finally, I was lucky enough to get to read the new book Extravagant Stranger by
Daniel Roy Connelly as a pdf prior to its official launch. This quirky memoir, written in prose poems, is more experimental than the other books listed here, but stays far enough on this side of the line of intelligibility for me to have enjoyed it. Prose poems are not everyone’s cup of tea, but here they fizz along with superb imagery and language, and the little cameos of significant others in his life that intersperse the more directly autobiographical elements are a delight. I’d actually like to see a whole book of those from him. It is published by Little Island Press who have a reputation for sumptuous production values, and currently it is available at a reduced price. It was also a recommended choice with The Poetry Book Society.

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