I feel I need to take a deep breath before trying to describe Melissa Lee-Houghton. The poems in Sunshine
, written after two and a half years in psychiatric hospitals, out-Plath Sylvia – they are harrowing, raw and so charged with pain that at the end of each poem, literary comment seems beside the point.
Kate Kellaway, Best Poetry Books of 2016, The Guardian
Stunning ... Lee-Houghton's poetic world is the underside of mass culture - the black economies of porn, child abuse, prostitution and drug use, and the hidden economy of institutionalisation ... Sunshine
thrills, and sickens.
Ailbhe Darcy, The Poetry Review
Anthemic and surprisingly glorious.
Claire Trevien, Poetry London
Distilled and achieved ... There’s a sense that you’re always teetering right on the edge of something but Melissa pushes you a little bit further than most writers would. And yet the writing always feels very controlled.
Helen Mort, Five Books
isn’t always an easy read. It’s heart-breaking, visceral, often sordid or hurtful ... But it’s also a life-affirming book, open and freshly honest about the mess of being human, about female masturbation, about self-harm and cold unloved dingy rooms where women find themselves.
Angela Topping, Stride Magazine
Brilliant, alarming, and as funny as it is sad.
Holly Powis, Disclaimer
Simply astonishing ... it overflows with expansive, intense and troubling poems that leave a lasting impression.
Andrew Parkes, The Poetry School
reaches deep into the part of us we don’t want to look at and is all the more powerful, gut-wrenching and vital because of it.
A wry, unflinching and knowing voice that collects the pieces of the torn-up world and brings them together in such a way that something is assuaged.
is a beautiful, brutal book. [...] but also wry, funny and self-aware.