Andrew Philip and I swapped manuscripts recently – poems we reckoned might be good enough for a debut full collection.
I’ve read through Andy’s MS twice now. I’d say there’s quite a difference between the poems in his now sold-out(!) chapbook, Tonguefire (a number of which are also in the MS) and his new material. There’s the same precise reflection on the world, but there’s more ‘space’ in the new material – often white space on the page, and daring connective leaps between thoughts and images.
There are a few brilliant, daring poems and a fair number of very good ones. It deserves publication. What beats me is how it’s so hard to get a first collection published in the UK, and yet so much poetry being published is quite ordinary and generic. You couldn’t say that of Andy’s stuff.