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wrecking ball swinging



“The Wrecking Ball has been wire-brushed and oiled. I gave it a little push this morning and when I last looked tonight it was still moving. I think we have momentum …”

Stacked on my desk are eight manuscripts. Very soon they will be primped, polished, printed and bound and sent spinning out into the world. Individually, they are among the most vital and refreshing blasts of poetry and prose you will come across in this or any other country. Collectively, they form the Wrecking Ball list of 2015. And what a list it is. From the swaying golden cornfields of Indiana to the prison cells of London, from a 10 am hangover in Aberystwyth to a swimming pool in the middle of the night in Hull, here are stories demanding to be told from voices beautiful, brutal and bizarre.

Brace yourself – the Wrecking Ball is swinging and it’s headed straight to you.


Pete Knaggs – You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You

Pete Knaggs’ poetic landscape is populated by the tender and the surreal, the deranged and the dislocated: quietly seething factory workers, domestic mermaids in bath chairs, foot fetishists in Scunthorpe book shops, exuberant van drivers blasting Showaddywaddy on the tape deck. Welcome to a world that holds a fractured mirror to the seemingly mundane scenery around us, a singularly slanted worldview that imbues the everyday with a deliciously skewed and subtle magic. All life is here. You may not think this book is about you – but it probably is.

celeste doaks – Cornrows and Cornfields

Cornfields and Cornrows is a heartfelt journey from the childhood fields of Indiana to the glittering metropolis of North America. Spinning together memory, popular culture and personal politics, celeste doaks makes words dance, weep, wail and sing – often in the space of just a couple of lines. This sublime collection of delightfully bold and vivid poems burn upon the mind’s eye long after the final page is turned.

Cliff Forshaw – Pilgrim Tongues

Dense, rich and complex this collection draws on a fertile heritage of myth and legend, evoking lands long forgotten and landscapes rendered new by this most modern and lyrical of voices.

 Kath McKay – Collision Forces

This beautifully intricate collection betrays a gimlet eye for detail and a huge passion for the tiny dramas of everyday life. Kath McKay’s dense and fragmentary lines recount the quiet firestorms that fuel human relationships and the seismic reverberations that can often ensue.

 Niall Griffiths – “Red Roar – 20 Years of Words”

A giant of modern literature, Niall Griffiths’ first poetry collection is every bit as exhilarating as his celebrated novels. Culled from two decades of notebooks, diaries and the sodden backs of beermats, “Red Roar – 20 Years of Words” celebrates Griffith’s journey towards ecstatic redemption through language. Here is poetry that strips the human experience back to its barest bones and exposes the raw and unflinching essence within.

 Russ Litten – Kingdom

A stranger appears out of nowhere in a prison library and assaults a guard. Locked in solitary confinement, he relates his story to a listener over the course of one night. Kingdom, the third novel from Russ Litten, spins together magical realism and hard-boiled psychodrama into a heartbreaking urban fable of human awakening. Ghosts may not exist – but sometimes they are real. Do you believe in life before death? 

 Andy Fletcher – How To Be A Bomb

Fuelled by mind as sharp as a scalpel and a heart bigger than the Humber, Andy Fletcher’s poetry ranges from simple, stark, haiku-like lines to rambling dreamlike prose, by turn both delightfully surreal and as clear as a raindrop caught by sunlight. You will return to these words again and again and be rewarded with something fresh and arresting at each visit. 

Alex Green – The Heart Goes Boom

Take a fortune teller, a has been TV soap star, a wise man and a writer and a silver eyed magician. Set them on a quest for true love and immortality. Make the road ahead fraught with mishaps and mayhem, with unforgettable characters at every turn. Make it funny. Make it really funny. “The Heart Goes Boom” is the most joyous, life-affirming story you will read this year.