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

Another Place


This book is about other places, whether physical or psychological, which the mind can occupy alongside the everyday. Barlow is concerned with the otherness of experienced reality, a sense there is always somewhere or someone else on the other side of the present, ‘a life I’ve not lead/ waiting to lead me home’. These poems combine various degrees of fiction, biography and autobiography and are triggered by a range of sources – from personal experience to newspaper articles, from modern novels and artworks to the voyages of Captain Cook, from the rural Lancashire environment where Barlow lives to the Shetland Islands. Although usually drawing from some reported or directly experienced reality, whether or not he sets out to do so, Barlow inevitably finds himself addressing the current of thoughts and emotions that underlie daily events – the undertow, as it were – a sense of unease, edginess and transience. Sometimes playful, occasionally lyrical, often unnerving, the poems work off one another to create a sense of a world less certain than it at first seems, ‘another place’ within everyday reality.

Praise for this Book

‘There’s directness and lightness of touch, an often brilliant deftness, in Mike Barlow’s poems, and an unusual warmth – all of it underwritten by vivid detail which remind us that he’s also a visual artist. But what he sees is only partly why his poems are so compelling; there’s also the sense he has of ‘living in two worlds at once’. What he imagines is alive – vital and often dangerous. It is what makes this collection outstanding.’ —Ann Sansom

‘Mike Barlow’s poetry inhabits a world of parallel lives, lurking presences, odd dreams, a place that is constantly mysterious and surprising. Technically assured, full of details observed with an artist’s eye, these are poems with an edge, able to alter the way you see things.’ —Elizabeth Burns

Reviews of this Book

‘All the poems in 'Another Place' stem from an unusually cogent poetic imagination; the reader has entered the World Barlovian’ —Michael Standen, Other Poetry

‘"It's the gaps that matter," claims Mike Barlow, midway through this collection, "Wiring the blanks with real life / as if real life were there ..." Whether he's climbing in high winds, reading about Captain Cook or birdwatching on Unst, Barlow's poems all grapple, in the end, with this question of "real life" – what it is, and what lies outside it. His attempts to bridge the gap between reality and the imagined world beyond see him reaching for telescopes, lenses, mirrors – anything that allows him to see the unseen.’ —Sarah Crown, The Guardian

‘Mike Barlow’s second collection sees him rising to his full stature. ‘Living On The Difference’ was a fine book, but here Barlow really discovers his confidence and allows his rare imagination full rein. Needless to say, the construction of the poems is excellent... This is a collection which pulls together as you read it to leave you with that feeling of inevitability and of a unique sensibility which are the hallmarks of great books... He’s a real poet. A real artist. And this is an unforgettable collection.’ —Alan Dent, The Penniless Press

Praise for Previous Work

‘Mike Barlow is a poet of relationships, intimate and neighbourly, a clear sharp eye and a steady gaze, keeping a look-out for us.’ —Michael Laskey, Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

‘... takes a slice of life and stares hard at the layers. And this is no mean feat – there are some enviable moments of bravura descriptive writing.’ —Clive Allen, Exultations and Difficulties

‘It’s always a relief to encounter a poet who acknowledges the limitations of the usual poetic party tricks and the illusion of control-through-certainty they offer.’ —Acumen

‘As skilled, as practised and as appealing as a cyclist on a high-wire.’ —Alan Dent, Penniless Press

‘Free verse so weighed and paced it shows an elegance and care beyond any achieved by formal styles.’ —Paul Sutherland, Dreamcatcher