Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
216 x 135mm



One day, the poet found himself with a dying poem. So, out of sheer frustration, he took a pair of scissors to it and began to cut the poem up and rearrange it, without looking at what he was doing. Suddenly, a poem that had been destined for the file marked “worthy but dull” sparked to life again, and he found himself excited by the possibilities of language again. Since then, this technique – and other uses of chance – have come to be increasingly important in his work. Constantly looking for the wonderful in the ordinary, the beautiful in the demotic, he is still essentially a lyric poet but in this book, he messes up the lyric's hair, exploring the the chances and encounters of modern life in vibrant, exploratory poems. A major section of the book are the Travelator Sonnets, inspired by Ted Berrigan’s pioneering Sonnets and the boxes of Joseph Cornell, cut-and-paste sonnets exploring nostalgia, travel and the chance encounters of modern life in 14 lines. Other poems explore his life in Manchester, his travels to Europe and Africa and his relationships, and there is a section of early poems that explore similar themes.

Praise for this Book

‘I’ve greatly admired Steven Waling’s poetry since the Smith’s were in the charts. It might seem strange in these strange days to claim a poet’s work to be enlightening as well as enjoyable but I’d say this particularly true of Steven Waling’s. And the manner in which it enlightens is precision: of perception, of language, of social morality.’ —David Morley

‘The poems in this welcome new collection by Steven Waling reveal a way of entering the sacred and quotidian through a lens of generous attention, honoring both tradition and growth. Waling participates in the contemporary universe, and shares it in specific sensory detail. The warmth shown by this poet for his wide range of subjects corresponds to the vivid honesty, self awareness and humor represented in the poems.’ —Sheila E. Murphy

‘In Steve Waling’s poems phrases and meaning collide in glorious moments of friction and rebound, giving new insight to and commentary on the everyday. Waling’s work is always rooted in what we know, always uses accessible and down-to-earth language, yet manages through nuance and juxtaposition, shape and form, concern and vision, to nudge us along toward new meaning, a re-creation of our world.’ —Rupert Loydell