Stress Fractures: Essays on Poetry

Tom Chivers (editor)

"an exciting introduction to new directions in poetry"

David Kennedy

Where can the poem go in the age of the supercomputer? Why is poetry taught so badly at school? What do Wordsworth, Byron and Roots Manuva have in common?

Where can the poem go in the age of the supercomputer?

What do Wordsworth, Byron and British rapper Roots Manuva have in common? Would Emily Dickinson have preferred Facebook or Twitter? Does the future look… Oulipian? Is slam poetry any good, and what is “post-avant” anyway?

These are just some of the questions posed in Stress Fractures, a new and wide-ranging collection of essays on the future of poetry.



Introduction Tom Chivers
The Architecture of Fictional Rooms Luke Kennard
Post-Avant: A Meta-Narrative Adam Fieled
Emily Dickinson, Vampipire Slayer Sophie Mayer
Hejiniaian’s Faustienne Beings-with Emily Critchley
These Terabytes I Have Tried to Shore Agaiainst Our Ruins Theodoros Chiotis
Every Rendition on a Broken Machine Ross Sutherland
Hidden Form: The Prose Poem in English Poetry David Caddy
Arranging Excursions to Disparate Worlds Simon Turner
Slam: A Poetic Dialogue Tim Clare
Roots Manuva’s Romantic Soul David Barnes
Composing Speech Hannah Silva
Radio And… James Wilkes
Enjoying and Examining Poetry Alex Runchman
The Line Katy Evans-Bush


Stress Fractures is a genuine attempt to reach out to a different kind of readership for writing about poetry. Fourteen essays range across conventional criticism; poetics; explorations of links between poetry and popular culture; and accounts of various compositional and performance practices and strategies. […] It’s a long time since I read a book of poetry criticism that (a) showed me new ways of writing about poetry; and (b) made me want to log on to Amazon straight away and buy things I’d never heard of.’
David Kennedy, Stride Magazine

‘An exciting introduction to new directions in poetry’
David Kennedy, Times Higher Education

‘This is a unique book brimming with some wonderful, and indeed weird, critical minds; I’ve seen nothing else quite so current and enlivening on the subject of poetry available at the moment.’
Charlotte Newman, Horizon Review


About the contributors

David Barnes was born in 1979. He read English at St Peter’s College, Oxford before completing a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London on the work of Ezra Pound and John Ruskin. A writer and wandering academic, he has published essays and reviews in a number of places, including the Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Education and Time Out. Alongside his interests in British hip-hop and poetry, David likes walking in East Sussex, travel and cooking.

David Caddy is a poet, critic and editor. His most recent collection is Man In Black (Penned in the Margins 2007), and a new collection The Bunny Poems is forthcoming. His book of essays So Here We Are will appear from Shearsman Books in early 2011. He edits international literary magazine Tears in the Fence and regularly reviews for The Use Of English and other journals. He is the Script Editor and a scriptwriter for Middle Ditch, the internet drama serial at

Theodoros Chiotis was born in Athens, Greece and was educated at the universities of London and Oxford. He has worked as a literature amd language tutor at Oxford and as a researcher in New Media Textuality for the Greek Open University. He works as an editor, translator, researcher and developer of teaching material for multimedia and eLearning platforms. He has published poetry, experimental fiction, critical essays, translations and reviews in a wide variety of Greek and English publications. He has received commendations for his poetry and his experimental fiction and has been invited to present his work at literary festivals.

Tim Clare is a writer, performer and poet. His first book, We Can’t All Be Astronauts, won Best Biography/Memoir at the East Anglian Book Awards. His debut solo show, Death Drive, was hailed as ‘the most compelling solo show on the Fringe’ (WhatsOnStage).

Emily Critchley gained a PhD in contemporary American women’s experimental writing and philosophy from the University of Cambridge, where she was the recipient of the John Kinsella & Tracy Ryan Poetry Prize in 2004. She teaches English & Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich. She has several chapbooks published with Torque Press, Oystercatcher, Dusie, Bad Press and Arehouse, and is one of the featured poets in Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman, 2010). She has a book forthcoming with Penned in the Margins in 2011.

Katy Evans-Bush is the author of Me and the Dead (Salt, 2008) and Oscar & Henry (Rack Press, 2010). She edits the online literary magazine Horizon Review, blogs at Baroque in Hackney, and tutors both independently and for the Poetry School. Her next collection, Egg Printing Explained, is due from Salt in Spring 2011.

Adam Fieled is a poet based in Philadelphia. He has released four print books: Opera Bufa (Otoliths, 2007), When You Bit… (Otoliths, 2008), Chimes (Blazevox, 2009), and Apparition Poems (Blazevox, 2010) as well as numerous chaps, e-chaps, and e-books, including Posit (Dusie Press, 2007), Beams (Blazevox, 2007), and The White Album (ungovernable press, 2009). His work has appeared in Tears in the Fence, Great Works, The Argotist, Upstairs at Duroc, Jacket, on PennSound, in the &Now Awards Anthology from Lake Forest College Press, and an essay is forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review from University of Salzburg Press.

Luke Kennard writes and publishes poetry and short stories. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Exeter and lectures in creative writing at the University of Birmingham. His second collection of poetry The Harbour Beyond the Movie was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2007. His third book is called The Migraine Hotel and is available from Salt. His criticism has appeared in Poetry London, The National and the Times Literary Supplement.

Sophie Mayer is the author of three books: Her Various Scalpels (Shearsman, 2009), The Private Parts of Girls (Salt, 2010) and The Cinema of Sally Potter: A Politics of Love (Wallflower, 2009). She enjoys writing for magazines like Chroma, Hand + Star, Horizon Review, Sight & Sound, and Staple, but frequently shares Emily Dickinson’s agoraphobia.

Alex Runchman is studying for a PhD at Trinity College Dublin on the American writer Delmore Schwartz. He was formerly a secondary school teacher in Oxfordshire, and has also taught English as a foreign language in several countries.

Hannah Silva is a playwright, performance poet and theatre maker, known for vocal gymnastics and linguistic experiments. She composes speech, choreographs language, and exploits ‘double tonguing’ to create a unique form of spoken word performance.

Ross Sutherland was born in Edinburgh in 1979. A former lecturer in electronic literature at Liverpool John Moore’s University, he works as a freelance journalist and tutor in creative writing. He is a member of poetry collective Aisle 16 and co-runs Homework, an evening of literary miscellany in East London. His first collection, Things To Do Before You Leave Town, was published in 2009 by Penned in the Margins, and was followed by a limited edition mini-book, Twelve Nudes, in 2010.

Simon Turner was born in Birmingham in 1980. His poems and reviews have appeared in a number of publications, including Tears in the Fence, Horizon Review, Poetry Salzburg and The Wolf. His first collection, You Are Here, was published by Heaventree in 2007. His second, Difficult Second Album, appeared from Nine Arches Press in 2010. With George Ttoouli, he co-edits the blogzine Gists and Piths. Forthcoming projects include an edited collection of essays on British Surrealism and a critical study of civilian war poetry.  He lives and works in Warwickshire.

James Wilkes has been collaborating with Holly Pester on a series of poetic texts exploring the radio voice since May 2010. He has also collaborated with artists Townley and Bradby and The Wayward Plant Registry, and with Dr Louise Whiteley to write Interior Traces, a live radio play about brain imaging. His poetry has been published by Penned in the Margins and Veer.

Our price £9.99
RRP £9.99
224 pages
ISBN 9780956546715
Published 1.10.10
Cover design: Henry Simmonds


About the author

Tom Chivers (editor) was born in 1983 in South London. A writer, editor and promoter of poetry, his publications include The Terrors (Nine Arches Press, 2009) and How To Build A City (Salt Publishing, 2009). A winner of the inaugural Crashaw Prize, he is Associate Editor of Tears in the Fence, was Poet in Residence at The Bishopsgate Institute, London, and has appeared on BBC Radio 3 and 4. Tom is Director of Penned in the Margins and Co-Director of London Word Festival.

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