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Citizens by Ian Parks

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Possibly the only poet to have published poems in the TLSand the Morning Star on the same day, Ian Parks’ new collection is a book about the tensions between poetry and politics, the spoken and the unspoken, the public and the private. Accompanied by the ghosts of Ella Fitzgerald, Honeyboy Edwards and the Chartist Poets Ebenezer Elliott and Ernest Jones, Parks listens to ‘the language of the lost and dispossessed’ as he explores sites of painful historical memory – from Blackstone Edge, Cable Street, Burford and Orgreave to Wotton Bassett, Ellis Island and the killing fields of Ypres and Bapaume. Written from ‘the sharp edge of the north’, Citizens asks questions about class and identity – personal and collective, regional and national – about the responsibilities of the individual in the face of state oppression, and what it might mean to be a citizen rather than a subject.

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