Sphinx review of Birmingham Canal Navigation

I just came across this review on Sphinx, of my new collection Birmingham Canal Navigation. Thanks to Ramona Herdman, and to Happenstance Press. The review opens like this: ‘These poems feel real to me. I believe in their Birmingham. I believe in Luke and the frisbee. I don’t care whether everything really happened exactly as set down…’ 

Birmingham Canal Navigation

Here’s my new collection of poems, Birmingham Canal Navigation, a pamphlet published by Knives Forks & Spoons Press. Thanks to Alec Newman. In some ways it’s my most cohesive collection, with the Birmingham connection running through. And thanks to Scott Thurston for the blurb: ‘If Roy Fisher famously said “Birmingham’s what I think with”, Cliff Yates would probably say “Birmingham’s who I eat with”. These lucid and nimble poems effortlessly thread in and out of the quotidian, always alert to the transformative power of the everyday seen clearly. History is here too, but faced lightly, alongside tributes to key influences like Fisher, O’Hara, Raworth, Sheppard. Yates’s art is a fully embodied one (look out for the hilarious Tai Chi Sprout Stalk Form!) which moves – exuding a wry, wise vitality entirely its own’ – Scott Thurston