Fay Musselwhite, Matthew Clegg and Michael Haslam: A Review

Elliptical Movements

Contraflow by Fay Musselwhite, Longbarrow Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1906175306, £12.99

The Navigators by Matthew Clegg, Longbarrow Press, 2015, ISBN 9781906175269, £12.99

Scaplings  by Michael Haslam, Calder Valley Poetry, ISBN 9780993497384, £7.00

contraflow-cover-6-aprContraflow is Fay Musselwhite’s first collection, a substantial book of over 100 pages in Longbarrow’s typically handsome, pleasingly designed hardback series. It’s a book full of people doing things and the writing is suitably muscular and physical to reflect this. Often the activity is heavy with a sense of necessity, things done to ensure survival, be it foraging for firewood:

Alone or in pairs by dark we go,

every day or so, for armfuls that warm us

twice at least – as we handle it home,

cleave it apart for the hearth brought to light

by peeling back years of emulsion, paper, tin

and a squatting of soot.

[From ‘Firewood’]

or visiting a friend in a block of…

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