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The Barman by Helen Bowell
PBS Summer Pamphlet Choice 2022

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‘This is a unique collection of poems so full of heart, humour and ache.’ Rachel Long

‘Helen Bowell’s The Barman is as funny and good as it is precise, at home in the interstices between cultures and TV channels, chips and chip grease, romance and boredom.’ Will Harris

Helen Bowell and The Barman are a relationship from which you won’t easily look away. This debut pamphlet is a sharp, witty exploration of the nuances of a sometimes reluctant codependency. At times it feels like you are the third housemate, unashamedly pressing your ear to the wall to hear conversations as intimate as they are absurd. Bowell deftly interrogates what it means to feel both othered and adored, comfortable and wary. The Barman is an introduction to a poetic voice unique in its ability to subtly express its desires, leaving enough room for the reader to find parts of themself in the world it creates.

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