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No Guiding Star by John Mills


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"When I read this collection, it wouldn’t let me go. These are poems of agony, joy and grief, bringing us the mundane, magical business of everyday life in surreal technicolour. Tender moments are observed with John’s characteristic wit.
This is a collection which explores chronic illness in an unflinching way, but pain is not its defining subject. Inside these pages you’ll find a world of brief encounters, cigarette coloured cardigans, unsent letters, the naivety of water, the alchemy of making jam. John Mills shows us that we are all disintegrating, but imaginatively, brilliantly, strangely, burning bright." - Helen Mort

"There’s a strong sense of Poet as Ringmaster in John Mills’ collection. He seems to stand at the centre, calling up scenes, events, characters and displays from a rich stock of people, stories and memories.And he exercises real control in these tight, well-worked poems, giving his material just the right space and freedom to become real for us, to affect us and to give us privileged access to all the variety of his experience. The voice is often clean and unfussy, sometimes darkly witty, and on occasion pitched in a strange space between anger and softness, but throughout there are the flourishes of lovely phrase-making, which ring out like the crack of a whip, or a bravura striking of a pose, hat aloft and smiling. Read it. It’s mesmerising stuff. - James Sheard

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