In Zebra, a boy steps tentatively from the shadows onto a strobe-lit dancefloor. Ian Humphreys’ much-anticipated debut shimmers with music, wit and humour while exploring mixed identities, otherness, and coming-of-age as a gay man in 1980s Manchester. These acutely-observed, joyful poems pay homage to those who took the first steps – minority writers, LGBT civil rights activists, 70s queer night-clubbers and the poet’s own mixed-race parents.
A heady cocktail of the playful, political and mythical, Humphreys’ Zebra is also a creature of opposites – light and dark, countryside and cityscape, highs and lows. The collection moves from semi-rural England to the metropolitan hubs of Hong Kong, London and New York, circling its subjects, often finding the uncanny in the familiar, always drawing the reader centre-stage.