Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Salt Modern Poets
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
216 x 140mm

The Hutton Inquiry


The political events of Summer 2003 is the setting for the main sequence of poems in “The Hutton Inquiry.” The poems move quickly, as scraps of information, piecing together the picture of a summer gone wrong. The emphasis is on speed, association, guesswork – creating a mosaic from the fragmentation of political divide and rule.

The story of the nascent war in Iraq unfolds in “Progress Poems,” a sequence that began as an indictment of false notions of progress, and turned into a melting-pot for harboured cynicisms: from Rupert Murdoch to Tony Blair. Jumbled in numbers from 1-2000, the poems move with the synchronicity and randomness of the internet.

The book opens with “A Taste of Verdigris”, a series of mostly present-tense, lived-in poems. These poems differ from so much contemporary poetry in that they account for the fabric of daily existence before it reaches the point of retelling through the techniques of story. They press with the immediacy of the moment.

“The Smog: London Poems” is a sequence for anyone who has ever experienced the sensation of the outsider, newly arrived in London. “The London Migration Sequence” accounts for the London rookie’s attempts to make ends meet, and to begin to make sense of the metropolis. The final poems in the book are a series of love poems, lighter in touch, including a nod to the French Surrealists. These poems are the secure place from which the books broader experiments can take flight.

Praise for this Book

‘Chris McCabe is amongst the younger poets who give me hope for the future of English poetry.’ —David Miller

‘How great to find a poet who has the receptiveness to take in all the details of the urban world and who also has the energy to challenge that world and demand change.’ —Andrew Duncan

Reviews of this Book

‘Chris McCabe's debut is shorter than Hutton's original report, but still an impressively inventive survey of the uses of English in the early 21st century. McCabe writes with the lower-case lightness of Tom Raworth and the northern comic realism of Simon Armitage. [...] The whole book zooms by sparking with spot-on phrases.’ —Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Guardian