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Limits of Control

Steve Spence

"Prose poems that splinter and fragment before your eyes and ears"

Ian McMillan

In this extraordinary sequence of prose poems, coral reefs fall from the sky, volcanoes smoulder and pirates come to power in Britain.

Combining montage techniques with reckless interventions, Steve Spence mashes up the worlds of robotics, banking, fishing, optometry, entomology, climate change, speech synthesis and meteorology to create a dizzyingly contemporary poetics – and a new form of nonsense. As entertaining as it is politically engaged, Limits of Control speaks to the challenging predicament we find ourselves in: ‘Things cannot go on as if nothing has happened yet the events which follow are even more strange.’

Our price £8.99
RRP £8.99
80 pages
ISBN 9780956546784
Published 1 February 2011
Cover design: Henry Simmonds


In his new collection Limits of Control [Spence] presents short prose poems that splinter and fragment before your eyes and ears, slipping from music therapy to oil in the ocean...
Ian McMillan, BBC Radio 3

Rarely have I read a work that manages to represent the complexities of contemporary experience so completely and truthfully. More than that, the experience of reading the collection mirrors its content – I felt anxieties, uncertainties and relief not simply because they were described well but because Spence knows exactly how to weave disjointed ideas into a semi-coherence so unnerving that it lingers like a horrific, beautiful vision. Anyone with an interest in contemporary poetry should buy this collection.
Lindsey Holland, Tears in the Fence

About the author

Steve Spence lives in Plymouth and co-organises live poetry group The Language Club. His reviews and poetry have appeared in Great Works, Shearsman, Stride, Tears in the Fence, Tenth Muse and The Rialto. He was assistant editor of Terrible Work magazine for four issues and in 2007 completed an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Plymouth. His debut book, A Curious Shipwreck (Shearsman, 2010), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

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