Poetry & Drama

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Books by the following York poets are featured on this page:

  • Penny Boxall
  • Carole Bromley
  • Katherine Crocker
  • Rose Drew
  • Anneliese Emmans Dean
  • Joanna Ezekiel
  • John Gilham
  • Alan Gillott
  • Oz Hardwick
  • Andy Humphrey
  • Pauline Kirk

plus a biography of a poet by

  • Elizabeth Sandie.

→  If you’re looking for poetry for kids or teens, click here.
→ If you’d like to invite any of these poets to your book group/school/festival etc., or would like to find out more about them, click on their name below to reach their York Authors profile page.
→ If you’re a York poet and you’d like your work featured here, please email us.


Penny Boxall
Ship of the Line
Valley Press, 2018. Paperback
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? No
Description: New edition of the award-winning debut collection. Winner of the 2016 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, a £20,000 biennial prize for the best collection by a Scottish poet under 30.
Reviews:‘Penny Boxall runs a tight ship. Her poems are beautifully crafted. Reading her is to go on an interesting journey of exploration – stopping at fascinating places along the way. She has a curator’s mind and is always putting one thing beside another in an unexpected way.’  Jackie Kay
Awards: Winner of the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016
Find out more and buy from: Valley Press

Penny Boxall
Who Goes There?
Valley Press, 2018. Paperback
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? No
Description: Halt! Who Goes There? Penny Boxall’s second collection throws light on the mysterious strangers we glimpse, and turns that same light on ourselves. From shadows lost to history to forgotten possessions and our own past identities, these poems consider questions of selfhood and the ways in which we can be peripheral in our own lives.
‘Beautifully crafted’ Jackie Kay
‘Rich and substantial’ Andrew Forster
‘Generous and engaging’ Michael Laskey
Awards: Shortlisted for the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition 2017
Find out more and buy from: Valley Press

Cover of Bromley - IcehouseCarole Bromley
A Guided Tour of the Ice House
Smith/Doorstop, 2011. Paperback
Reviews: ‘Bromley’s strong, courageous work can carry
 readers to unexpected, transforming destinations.’ Alison Brackenbury, Poetry Review
‘An engaging collection, infused with the wit and pathos of the everyday. There is something undeniably very attractive about Bromley’s understated approach and clear-eyed focus. The ordinary is what makes her special.’ Kathryn Gray, Magma
Read a sample: Here  
Find out more and buy from: Amazon l  Publisher’s website

Cover of Croker: Breathing under waterKatherine Crocker
Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017.
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? No
Reviews: ‘Katherine Crocker’s poems are founded in reality: the reality of the material – stone and water – and the reality of imaginative experience. What they show is how these two faces of reality come together to make art: that in fact this is what art is. The poems carry total conviction and compulsion.’ Bernard O’Donoghue
‘Katherine Crocker’s poems are intricately written, tender and moving. She observes the world with a keen eye. Each piece suggests a universe and narrative of its own. Read it in one sitting and be mesmerised. Then read it again.’ Abi Curtis
Buy from: Amazon

Cover of Crocker - CordobaKatherine Crocker
Long Exposure at Cordoba
Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2012.
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? No
Description:  This collection contains poems about the changing seasons and changing landscapes.  Some of the poems are set in rural Yorkshire and others further afield.  There is always a strong sense of narrative and the subjects vary from fairy tale and myth to political narrative set in Cambodia.   Many of the poems have previously been published in UK poetry magazines such as Acumen, Ambit, Smiths Knoll and The Rialto.
Reviews:  ‘Katherine Crocker is not afraid to engage the reader in an enterprise that is in the best sense dramatic, and she does not disappoint. These are strong and incisive poems which derive their emotional traction from well-registered visual and tactile experience. A wide-ranging, distinctive, and extremely good first collection.’ Peter Bennet, Other Poetry & Bloodaxe
I greatly enjoyed reading this collection.  It was very fine, and Lilacs, in particular, will stay with me.’ Peter Hobbs, Faber & Faber
‘This debut collection is never less than interesting and the best poems far exceed that.  My favourites are about flowers.  I love the poem about lilacs, the way their perfume drenches the air after the rain.  Katherine Crocker brought them into my house, and here they are still.’ Helena Nelson, Ambit
Awards: Winner of Indigo Dreams Collection Competition.
Read a sample:  From the title poem, Long Exposure at Cordoba
“…when you get the print
the stone is blurred,
my ghost walks towards you
in orange blossom scent.”
Buy from: Amazon  l Publisher’s website l Central Books 

Cover of Drew - Temporary SafetyRose Drew
Temporary Safety

Fighting Cock Press. May 2011. Paperback
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? Partially
Description: Poems that comment on marriage, motherhood, politics, death and above all, life.
Reviews: ‘Rose Drew has developed her own powerful poetic style, mixing American and British Influences.’ Paul Sutherland
‘I loved it! I felt honoured to have been mentioned, and touched by images of the poet’s daughter.’ Ann Tyler, on “Morgan’s Daughters” from The Machineries of Love.
Awards: No. 9 on the Top 20 Individual Collections: Purple Patch 2011
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website   l  Publisher’s website

Anneliese Emmans Dean
Flying High! (Discover the poetry in British birds)

Brambleby Books, 2017.  Paperback
Genre: Poetry meets ornithology. For ages 5 to 12(-ish!)
Set in York? Partially
Description: A bird book with a difference: it rhymes! This unique guide to British birds is a colourful cocktail of entertaining poems, solid science and 100 fabulous photos. Fly high with Anneliese as, season by season (and giggle by giggle), she introduces you to a wealth of birds and their life cycles, along with top tips on how to ID birds, attract them to your garden and record them too.
The companion volume to Anneliese’s award-winning Buzzing! (‘Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts’)Flying High! is a great laughter-and-learning experience for children and a rib-tickling reprise for grown-ups. In other words: a must for the bookshelves of all bird-lovers, young and old.
You’ll never look at birds in the same way again!
Reviews: ‘Made me chuckle, even laugh out loud, with pleasure!’ Professor Sir John Lawton, RSPB Vice-President
Glorious … What makes the book so special is the sheer joy, fun and enthusiasm Anneliese brings to her versions of common British birds.’ York Press
Awards:  Winner of the 2017 York Culture Award for ‘Excellence in Writing’
View sample pages: Here
Find out more:

cover of Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans DeanAnneliese Emmans Dean
Buzzing! (Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts)
Brambleby Books, 2012. Hardback; 2015 paperback
Genre: Poetry meets natural history. For ages 5 to 12(-ish!)
Set in York? Partially
Description: Be amazed, be amused, be afraid … it’s Buzzing! Enter the factabulous world of garden minibeasts as you’ve never seen them before. A unique cocktail of edu-taining poems, fascinating facts and over 170 of Anneliese’s close-up minibeast photos. A National Insect Week recommended children’s book and teachers’ resource. Includes the ‘Jewel of York’ – the stunning Tansy beetle, only found in York!
Reviews: ‘A fabulous fun-filled flight through the wonderful world of the wiggly, wriggly and giggly … You’ll be edu-entertain-amazed.’ Bumblebee Conservation Trust
‘Anneliese has discovered the poetry in insects, and knows a lot about them too. She has the buzz!’ Sir Quentin Blake, former children’s laureate
***** ‘Likely to be a favourite at home or at school.’ Books for Keeps
‘Recommended to inspire an interest in minibeasts in both children and adults.’ Primary Science
‘A rhyming romp that is captivating, humorous and entertaining … A wonderful fun-filled introduction to the invertebrate world.’ Antenna, Journal of the Royal Entomological Society
‘A delightful partnership of science, poetry and photography … Will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.’ Guardian
***** ‘A fascinating introduction to the invertebrate world … Certainly a book for making learning fun!’ Journal of Biological Education
‘The real stars of the book are its rhymes … Very funny.’ Science
‘Will undoubtedly help youngsters to understand invertebrates and take in information in a memorable way … [and] serve as a bedside companion for more mature entomologists.’ Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists Society
Awards: Winner of the 2015 North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award for Poetry; Shortlisted for the  Royal Society Young People’s Book Prizenominated for the Carnegie Medal
View sample pages: Here
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website  l  Amazon  l  Publisher’s website

Cover of Ezekiel: Centuries of SkinJoanna Ezekiel
Centuries of Skin
Ragged Raven, 2010. Paperback
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? No
Description: Joanna’s first full poetry collection explores her heritage, past and present relationships, and journeys of all kinds.
Reviews: ‘She is a skilled minituarist – a Jane Austen cataloguing the telling details of women’s lives, of city lives…’ Ross Cogan, South Magazine
Find out more from: Author’s website
Find out more and buy from: Amazon l Publisher’s website

Fosdyke_Front_CoverJohn Gilham
Fosdyke and Me and Other Poems
Fighting Cock Press/Stairwell Books.  2010. Paperback.
Genre: Poetry.
Set in York? Partially.
Description: The complete Fosdyke and Me series, charting the lives of two ever-hopeful born losers with 1950s attitudes.  Plus a selection of poems reflecting on our 20th century heritage at the beginning of the 21st.
Reviews: ‘a picaresque lurch from Boy’s Brigade to bedsit, Cawood to Carnaby Street’ Julia Deakin
‘A wonderful celebration of escaping the office to sow wild flowers of discontent’  Helen Cadbury
‘a moving and compelling piece of work which repays reading again and again.’ Andy Humphrey
Find out more and buy from: Publisher’s website

Cover of Gillott - Beyond the WindowAlan Gillott
Beyond the Window

Fighting Cock Press. February 2012. Paperback
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? Partially
Description: Poetry that takes the reader from England, to India, to the United States, and places in between.
Reviews:Beyond the Window takes us out into the world. Here is a poet who engages with place and circumstance, ever thoughtful, his personal journey enriched with experience on three continents. He is not afraid to blend seriousness with humour, to delight us with a beautiful love-lyric, or use his deep inner sense of history and landscape to underpin commentary on issues of today.’ John Gilham
Find out more and buy from: Author’s websitePublisher’s website

Cover of Oz - Illuminated DreamerOz Hardwick
The Illuminated Dreamer
Oversteps, 2010. Paperback

Reviews: ‘Hardwick can be surreal, but is always lyrical in this eclectic, pleasurable book’ Orbis

Find out more and buy from: Amazon  l Publisher’s website

Cover of Hardwick - Lost SongsOz Hardwick
The Lost Songs
Indigo Dreams, 2009. Paperback
Reviews: ‘Re-finds magic in current times’ Reach Poetry
Find out more and buy from Amazon


Andy Humphrey A Long Way to FallAndy Humphrey
A Long Way to Fall

Lapwing Press, 2013. Paperback/e-book
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? Partially
Description: Andy Humphrey’s poetry interweaves the timeless voices of nature, myth and fairy story with contemporary tales of love gained and lost, heartbreak and celebration. This debut collection gathers together 17 years’ worth of original poems including many prize winners in literary competitions.
Reviews: ‘Rich in honed descriptive detail that turns the ordinary into the startling’ Bob Beagrie
‘Intelligent but never elitist: we’re all invited to share’ Rose Drew
‘Poems of memory and loss, and of what it means to be human … a stunning debut’ James Nash
Read a sample: Here
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website l Publisher’s website

Cover of Kirk - Envying the WildPauline Kirk
Envying the Wild
Fighting Cock Press, 2008
Genre: Poetry
Set in York? Partly
Description: Envying the Wild was the last collection edited by Mabel Ferrett. Illustrated by the author, the poems are set in the north of England and have been performed at many venues and festivals over recent years. They have also been broadcast and published in a wide range of journals.
Reviews: ‘Pauline Kirk’s poems pin down all of our sadnesses and celebrations in their quiet scrutiny of the natural world.’ Antony Dunn
‘Pauline Kirk’s poetry made me stop and think; it touched me deeply and brought my emotions to the surface again and again.’  Alan J Carter. ‘Quantum Leap’
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website l Amazon l Publisher’s website

Cover of Kirk - Walking to SnailbeachPauline Kirk
Walking to Snailbeach: Selected and New Poems
Redbeck Press, 2004
Set in York? Partly
Description: Walking to Snailbeach includes many uncollected poems, and a selection of some of Pauline Kirk’s best known work, which has appeared in a wide range of British and overseas publications. Many of these poems have been performed at northern venues and festivals.
Reviews: ‘Reading Pauline’s words is like having cataracts removed from our inner eyes so that we perceive happenings and emotions with greater clarity and vision. A delightful collection.’ Mary Sheepshanks, poet and novelist
‘She is the poet for people who do not read poetry.’ Poetry Salzburg Review
Find out more and buy from: Author’s website  l Amazon l Distributor’s website

Cover of Sandie - UA FanthorpeElizabeth Sandie
Acts of Resistance: The Poetry of U A Fanthorpe
Peterloo Poets, 2009. Paperback
Genre: Literary criticism
Set in York? No
Description: explores the biographical, social and literary contexts of U A Fanthorpe’s Collected Poems (2005); gives insights into individual poems, discusses major themes, poetic strategies and the subversiveness of this popular and critically acclaimed poet. Fanthorpe, a Quaker, speaks for the voiceless, for marginal lands and marginal lives.
Reviews:  ‘A meticulous, beautifully-written appraisal of the work of this generous, much-loved, very English poet. Sandie’s book is a delight – comprehensive, scholarly – an indispensable reference – intriguing, accessible and highly readable.Katherine Gallagher in Writers in Education
‘I wholeheartedly recommend this sensitive study to both new readers and Fanthorpe’s many enthusiasts. Its insights fall as gently and shiningly as the poems do.’ Chris Kinsey in Envoi
Find out more from: Author’s website
Buy from: Amazon

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