Born of this world yet not quite of it, the ghosts that haunt the poems in Mike Barlow’s Some Kind of Ghost play with parallel realities, the alternatives – imagined, remembered, sensed and intruded upon – that shadow the everyday and taken-for-granted. Shifts and shivers, blind faith and fear, unspoken thoughts, hindsight, false trails, a missed beat in conversation, all lead to that ‘knife-edge feeling / as the will to fly competes with gravity’ (‘Ridge Walking with Maddy’). Condensed and surefooted, the poems have a deceptive ease and informality which bridge the inner and the outer worlds to take you somewhere unexpected.
Barlow’s first collection, Living on the Difference (Smith|Doorstop, 2004), won the Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition and was shortlisted for the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize. This was followed by two further collections, Another Place (Salt, 2007) and Charmed Lives (Smith|Doorstop, 2012), and a number of pamphlets, one of which, Amicable Numbers (Templar, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. He is a former winner of The National Poetry Competition.