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The English Summer

Holly Hopkins

"The English Summer shimmers with exquisite revelations"

Pascale Petit
shortlisted for the forward prize for best first collection
shortlisted for the seamus heaney first collection prize
a poetry book society special commendation

Seaweed and sunburn. The death of a fridge. A 'pie-faced' St George upstaged by the horse.

The English Summer confronts the illusions and paradoxes of history in poems that reimagine medieval anchorites and 18th-century follies, zombies and the Megabus. This is a landscape populated by overcrowded urban bedsits and burnt-out country piles, where ghosts of the past are sensed beneath dual carriageways and old gods emerge from rotting bindweed. Visceral and analytic at turns, Hopkins’ startling collection probes at the undergrowth of English culture; a white-hot debut by a poet of singular vision.


Our price £9.99
RRP £9.99
Please note: due to the recent change in tax regulations, we are currently unable to ship to EU countries.
78 pages
ISBN 9781908058942
Published 24 June 2022
Cover design: Zigmunds Lapsa


When I read a poem by Holly Hopkins, I feel as if I’m eavesdropping on the secrets of life itself – The English Summer shimmers with exquisite revelations. Whatever she writes about, whether it’s global warming, a country church, or the death of a fridge, however down-to-earth the subject, there’s a pin-sharp clarity, matched with a sleight of hand in the machinery of each poem, that gives us an original look at the world.
Pascale Petit

Unlike the holiday downpours wryly presaged by its title, nothing disappoints in this nimble, humane, and brilliantly inventive debut. The English Summer has the instincts of an archaeologist, the eye of a sell-out comic, and the soul of an itinerant philosopher. Whether leading us down history’s forgotten byways, or skewering the quirks of contemporary life, Hopkins is an enchanting guide: a poet of rare talents, who will make you chuckle, stop in your tracks, then question everything you know.
Sarah Howe

From Lady Godiva to the Green Man, Holly Hopkins takes on the stories England tells about itself. I love Hopkins' tragicomic vision: vicious snobbery coexists with great tenderness, in an England tense with 'thunderclouds of gorse'. A lacerating and truly lovely debut.
Clare Pollard

Much alive poetry is written from the margins. Holly Hopkins does write feminist poems: about, for instance, domestic labour done by women. But as a whole, this scrupulously precision-built collection (the lines shine, but in a way that pulls you up short and makes you think) doesn't speak from the margin but the missing centre - of Englishness itself. These poems are particular and humane. They show it is possible to be contemporaneous without being presentist; to be simultaneously, singingly, topical and historical; and they reconnect to a real, abiding world emotional highs and lows that have become politically untethered.
Vidyan Ravinthiran

A poem by Holly Hopkins always reminds me of some sort implement, which looks to be quite practical, but – well now, just look at that, you’ve cut yourself. Tsk. Whatever this implement is, she uses it to worry the joins between all manner of polite hypocrisies: between what we say and what we mean; between the spaces we inhabit and the way they’re sold to us; between an ornamental wall and a property boundary. Yet somehow – I'm not sure how she’s pulled this off – this is a collection about hope.
Abigail Parry

About the author

Holly Hopkins grew up in Berkshire, grew up even more in London and now lives in Manchester. Her debut pamphlet, Soon Every House Will Have One, won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition and was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. Holly has been an assistant editor of The Rialto. She has received an Eric Gregory Award and a Hawthornden Fellowship and was shortlisted for the inaugural Women Poets’ Prize. Her poems featured in Carcanet New Poetries VIII and have been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph and TLS.

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