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Flamingo by Kathryn Bevis

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“A stunning and original pamphlet... inspiring, impressive and wonderful.” – The London Grip


Kathryn Bevis’s Flamingo introduces us to a troupe of wild, unique, and captivating poems. Life and our own embodiment are brought sharply into focus as we encounter a variety of subjects including work, survival, love, and mortality. Formally inventive, these hopeful and sometimes surreal poems are not afraid to confront complex or difficult emotions. Cancer is posed as a ring-tailed lemur, capering through the sufferer’s body, and the title poem imagines death as a flamboyant transformation where the speaker shapeshifts into the afterlife. Each poem is a discovery and a joy: Flamingo is a debut of startling originality.


“Kathryn Bevis writes visceral, moving, sharp-eyed and formally adventurous poetry, often focussed on the embodied experience of women’s lives. But despite the quick wit, bite and sting of these poems – Bevis clearly couldn’t be paid to write a dull line – the deeper impression is of a poet of real wisdom, compassion and fearlessness, with an almost old-school faith in poetry as way of shedding light, of making sense of the most senseless aspects of the world. Only a writer of considerable gifts could repeat the trick so consistently.” – Don Paterson      

“This pamphlet is a delight – vibrant and fresh. Each of its poems, from the tenderest honeymoon address to the bold, inventive voices of its heroines, zings with vivacity and defiance. Never shying away from what is hard or painful, these poems keep rebellion as their lodestar, conjuring an energy which shines with wit and compassion.” – Liz Berry 

“These are poems of brilliant ideas and even better execution. The pages sing in a range of voices, giving us the thoughts of superheroes and union representatives, dolls and starlings. Every language choice the writer makes pulls in the same emotional direction, and this leads to poems of the most enormous power.  At their heart, they express what nothing can like poetry - empathy and love - and their feeling for a husband, a mother, a grandmother, even for a long-lost and bereaved former schoolfellow, make us glad to be human. By the end of the collection, with its sustained group of poems exploring love and mortality, I was in floods of tears, and convinced that this is the most accomplished and emotionally significant group of new poems I have read in a very long time. The pamphlet reminds us why poetry is so important, and will be clutched to the hearts of all of us who are lucky to read it.” – Jonathan Edwards

“If a poetry collection could ever be a box of fireworks, it would be this one.  From the first stanza, where Wonder Woman’s breasts are described as ‘twin spaniels off the leash’ we know we’re in for a high-stakes, high energy ride in this extraordinary collection. The description of cancer as a ring-tailed lemur is just one example of the way Bevis always sidesteps expectations to create poetry that is moving, transformative and always surprising.” – Kim Moore




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