Formally-innovative, wildly-inventive, comic, surreal and poignant – Evans’s poetry is a restless delight as he tackles almost any subject from lost invoices, hearing aids, fruit flies, migration, bin lorries, bullet-pierced road signs, to love’s strains and pleasures. As entertaining as they are impressive, these poems are in and of the physical world, brimming with ideas and passion and sharing it all with real panache.
‘Whether on love, raspberries, loss, long journeys or CAPCHAs Evans brings a mordantly funny and wise sensibility to bear on our lives. By which I mean our lives, the stories we tell about them and the scripts we tend to live by. Do we believe it, any of it, can we get off the script and see clearly? And yes, if we focus and write into that honesty, steer into the skid, breathe into the pain. And it’s this toughness, as much as anything else, which makes this such a poignant and genuinely romantic collection, immune to “pragmatism like a ticket inspector”, the almost unbearable hope and love that persists. This is a vital collection and these are Evans’ best poems yet, painfully well observed and beautifully alive.’ —Luke Kennard
‘“Haibun for a Son, Cooking” snagged my heart with its rendering of a warm and tender family relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with its father and son … Here is a connection that has, as with advanced cooking skills, been honed and nurtured over many years. For me, this is writing that’s not only beautiful but healing.’ —John McCullough
‘This is poetry with energy and vision, displaying a forensic accuracy of metaphor and image to deliver writing which disturbs, delights and moves the reader, often all at once.’ —David Harmer, Orbis
‘To An Occupier Burning Holes is above all a well-observed collection, in which Evans seems to “really see” what he writes about, yet here he acknowledges the limits of language and poetry. Within these confines, though, this is a poet who uses his considerable craft to treat of themes and issues in a carefully personal way. Overall, an individual and distinctive collection.’ —Tim Murphy, The Friday Poem
‘There’s a difficulty in reviewing a collection of poems in which the perspective shifts between an ostensibly dispassionate survey of international crises and the intimacy of human and family relationships, especially when the poet also displays considerable formal variety in response to the themes he explores. Yet the world as it is now seems to demand our attention, while our nearest connections, if we are fortunate, draw out our capacity for warmth and, inevitably, grief at loss. Ken Evans’ new collection spans this wide range and a review can give only a small flavour of the variety within.’ —Kathleen Bell, The High Window