Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley has been enjoying widespread attention in several newspapers. London’s Metro has the collection "breathing life into lonely wastelands" whilst Robert Macfarlane writing in The Guardian describes it as "a love letter to our overlooked landscapes". Whilst Macfarlane finds much to delight in the poets’ "distinctive style for their chosen region: fond, melancholic and glitteringly acute" and enjoys the "dozens of fascinating digressions", he ultimately finds that the poets go too far in their celebration of waste ground: "the love shown for the edgelands is too strong". Peter Parker writing in The Telegraph on 22nd February had no such reservations, declaring that "Farley and Symmons Roberts are peerless, bringing unexpected, beguiling poetry to the largely unlovely landscapes they describe". Frances Spalding, reviewing the collection in The Independent on 25th February, admires the "conversational tone … wise, pointed and unfussed". She asserts that this "gem of a book" will "shake up our lazy perceptions of an aspect of England that seemed familiar, but remained under-observed and poorly understood".
Kate Kellaway is unstinting in her appreciation of Michael Longley’s A Hundred Doors, one of the Poetry Book Society’s Spring recommendations, reviewed in The Observer on 20th March. She describes his collection as "beautiful" and the poems therein "like talismans; you want to learn them off by heart". Clive James, reviewing the same collection in the Financial Times on 18th March, reveals a "big man with a light touch" for whom the "natural world … will never cease to move him to a phrase". Theo Dorgan, reviewing A Hundred Doors for the Irish Times on 19th March, finds a poet who is "quiet, unassuming, attentive to small things but raising his head from time to time to look history square in the face". He sums up: "A luminous book … crafted and generous and sure".
Jackie Kay’s Fiere, also one of the PBS Spring Recommendations, is richly praised in Ben Wilkinson’s review in The Guardian on 12th February. Wilkinson enthusiastically describes Kay’s "knack for capturing the rhythms of everyday talk and conjuring believable characters" in this collection focusing on family and relationships. He detects her "warm, capacious optimism", also picked up on by Bill Greenwell writing in The Independent on 28th February who describes Fiere as "a kind and compassionate collection" which has "a naked honesty, an unvarnished voice, and a strong one too".
Elaine Feinstein reviewing Ruth Fainlight’s New and Collected Poems in The Times on 19th February, describes her poems as "quietly lucid but her voice is never bland" and relishes the power of "a sensibility of immense sophistication". In a collection representing half a century’s work, Fran Brearton, writing in The Guardian on 26th February, finds in the earliest poems "an extraordinary maturity of voice and vision. The essential continuity of her work is immediately striking; the poems affirm her own sense of poetry (and life) as a constant happening, the past a perpetual present". Brearton describes Fainlight as "a poet with a pleasure in life's serendipities and a healthy respect for its only certainty".