Shortlisted for the EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards
Reading these poems there is a sense that, through ‘the sneakiness of words’, their tantalising truths are continuing partly to elude us – when ‘no’ touches ‘yes’, a dream solidifies on waking, coffee dregs yield one’s reflection, or the song you didn’t think to remember renews its hold on you.
Their highly-tuned awareness comes not out of introspection, but attentiveness, and also a real affection for the ‘cheerful stabs of flair among the serious junk’ of the world. Dry ice, microwaves, lager-tops: all have their limelight in the mind, but there is nothing glib or cheaply-won about how the temporary or everyday become the emblem of a thought. Cockburn’s poems realise this time and again, with the sureness of an Anglepoise lamp that ‘throws its one enquiry’ into moments that, though private, are also the ones we most meaningfully share.
‘Admiring another writer is always a mixture of pleasure and pain, and it's pretty much my highest praise that as I read these deeply glowing, profoundly enjoyable poems I was muttering out loud: Damn it he's right. He's right. He's right. He's right. He's right.’ —Luke Kennard
‘Tim Cockburn is a poet of skill, risk, and imagination. He borrows a wryness of observation, and a resigned, poignant sadness of predicament, from the Movement, but his poems are most impressive for the way they create a lifting sensation, a disarming feeling of romantic urgency, uncertainty and precariousness.’ —Jack Underwood
‘Tim Cockburn is a bohemian young rake from Nottingham whose 20-page debut pamphlet Appearances in the Bentinck Hotel combines beauty with brevity. Last time I saw the author he was sat on the doorstep of the Flying Goose Cafe in Beeston with a half-empty bottle of red wine in his hand, after giving a brilliant reading, insisting he didn't care how he got home, he was happy to sleep right there. He may die young in a dramatic fashion, but lets hope he produces a few more books like this one first. I could expand on his profound voice, his spark of genius, but anyone who can write ‘I have been in love once or twice but a weir spits out a drowned dog eventually’ or ‘My tenderness has trodden on a three-pin plug’ is beyond that, really.’ —Aly Stoneman