Melissa Lee-Houghton, Sunshine (Penned in the Margins, 2016)
Melissa Lee-Houghton’s Sunshine (Penned in the Margins, 2016) is superb. It sent shockwaves through the British poetry establishment with lines like, “I oil my skin so the desire will slip off me and onto the floor and crawl/around and get carpet burns and I will glow/like a cigarette burn on the arm of the whitest smack-head in town…”
Mary Ann Caw, Surrealist Love Poems (Tate, 2001)
Mary Ann Caw’s edition of Surrealist Love Poems (Tate, 2001) is just beautiful and a near perfect gift. Breton first found surrealism in poetry before smoothing out the fantastical principles to form the manifestos. Fuck the manifestos! Read the poetry.
Phoebe Wagner, The Body You Are In (Bad Betty Press, 2020)
Phoebe Wagner’s pamphlet, The Body You Are In (Bad Betty Press, 2020), is a remarkable debut. It’s funny and weird and insightful and doesn’t fall into the trap of presenting easy answers to the conundrums she deals with.
Heather Philipson, INSTANT-fLEX 718 (Bloodaxe, 2013)
Heather Philipson’s INSTANT-fLEX 718 (Bloodaxe, 2013) definitely is one of the finest examples of contemporary surrealism. There are too many brilliant lines said with such ease in such an experimental fashion for it not to be brilliant.
Kim Hyesoon, Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018)
Don Mee Choi’s translation of Kim Hyesoon’s Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018) was too exciting for me when I found out it was being published. I’ll just say it, I’m a fan, and her work has been an enormous influence on my own.
Tom Bland’s The Death of a Clown came out with Bad Betty Press in 2018, and his second book, Camp Fear, is coming out in 2021. He runs online courses in experiential writing. He edits the online magazine, Spontaneous Poetics, http://www.spontaneouspoetics.co.uk.