That cat gut you’ve inserted through my mouth,
It travels down my spine, fires & tugs
With every movement, ‘specially in my loins ~
It is the fruit of all seasons; a bird
For every journey ~ on each vital organ.
It has a tension you wouldn’t believe; a sssssspiccato
Belonging to the ‘60s. I mean the 1660s.
It is a little heinous corpus when I
Bend under. If you squared it with the up stroke,
You might smooth things over for a while ~
At least till I return to some other
Decimated breeding ground where the mood
Is fertile & the land more perchy.
Such times are tough, & I get easily strung out.
Also, I find with every era that goes by
This little throat gets less & less tuneful /
More grating to the ear. I hate to catch you
On~the~wing for such discussions.
& there are perhaps other reasons why
It’s not the best idea
(‘Perhaps Other Reasons’)
Love / All That /& OK, an anti-confessional by experimental British poet Emily Critchley, brings together a diverse range of work previously published in chapbooks since 2004, and includes new material from the sequences ‘Poems for Luke’, ‘The Sonnets’ and ‘Poems for Other People’.
Read an essay by Emily Critchley about the book.
‘Really intelligent, coquette, fuck-you work … a space for a new kind of anti-misogynism in poetry.’
‘I think the project is high electrics and considerable. I particularly care for the frailty and edges of coherence loss. It’s the intelligent frays that push under my thought and matter most.’
‘Her formally adventurous poetry implicates its author in, then deftly upends, the conventions – political, sexual, intellectual, and emotional – that threaten to diminish the purview of any fierce, bright, 21st-century female. Critchley practises a brisk vernacular anti-lyric, often in the name of love and always in a language that (pounding Pound) ‘hath ‘ham’ innit.’ As an antidote to a future that ‘may be very wrong,’ these poems are absolutely right.’
‘[Emily Critchley] has incorporated influences from popular culture and from a more-streetwise feminist critique. [H]er poetry … is combative, intellectual and probing but this seems tempered by an upbeat and more popular sense of engagement, which makes her unusual and interesting [...] a genuine form of public-poetry, which can embrace both pleasure and critique without being either chic posturing or a sell-out to the market, such as it exists within poetry publishing! The thing I most enjoy about Critchley’s poetry is the way in which she manages to suggest an ongoing sense of ‘self-dialogue’ within her writing. Whether she’s talking about love (and as the title suggests, there is a lot of material about relationships) or politics or art or academic work, there’s always an inner-dialogue going on, a self-assertiveness questioned in the light of a relationship to the ‘public sphere’.’
Steve Spence, Stride Magazine
‘This is an amazing, thorough collection of British poet Emily Critchley’s publications to date. You need to read this book!’
“[Critchley's] writing addresses love and gender politics with surprising directness, albeit mostly through misdirection, and though the book is couched as an ‘anti-confessional’, it strikes me as more of a kind of ironic examination of the confessional mode and its place in women’s poetry.”
Jon Stone, Dr Fulminare
“These are profusely, plurally ironic poems – wildly deploying different kinds of irony recombinatively, checking for new emergent ironies, or else tuning into the fuzzy, emergency pseudo-irony between two superimposed and mutually-interfering frequencies of irony. They go brash, sarky, colloquial, ludic, oblique, academic, hilarious, gnomic, emo, icy, camp, compulsively allusive, mellifulously polysyllabic, achingly tongue-tied and lowly, exulting, throwaway, bathetic, non-sequitur, toaster.”
Meghan Zword, Hix Eros (PDF)
Cover design by Henry Simmonds (artwork by Emily Critchley)
high electrics and considerable
Emily Critchley was born in Athens, Greece, and grew up in Dorset. She studied at the Universities of Oxford, Bristol and Cambridge. From Cambridge she gained a PhD in contemporary, American women’s experimental writing and philosophy, and was the recipient of the John Kinsella & Tracy Ryan Poetry Prize in 2004. She now lectures in English & Creative Writing at the University of Greenwich.