Henry Normal’s ninth poetry collection follows the speaker through the monotony of daily life. Many of these poems combine what could be seen as dull accounts of the speaker’s life with an injection of humour. Rather than your standard dedication, Normal opens with a dedication poem – an unexpected and amusing choice that sets an upbeat tone for the subsequent poems to follow.
With an overarching attention to the smaller details of life, Normal references moments of contemporary popular culture, such as Simon Cowell’s TV competition shows and the use of hashtags. He engages with the world in a straightforward and practical way through his poetry – although at moments the collection seems to lack emotional depth. However, as ever Normal has a humorous approach to openly satirise ideas around good poetic writing. It is certainly a funny and relaxed read. Kate Hewett
Dan Webber’s Genre Fluid is an ambitious collection: It acts as a map in which the reader is taken through different moments of Webber's experiences. While Genre Fluid has been published in Notts, the feel of the writing and the earnest storytelling gives the collection a universal edge. The connection of telling stories involving the exploration of sexuality reminds the reader that all people have the ability to connect to one and another. This human connection through shared experience, and the understanding of the shared experiences of others, has an ability to not be limited by setting.
When you read this book, you’ll come across the interconnection of the poem titles and the poetic lines. This technique – combined with the use of the repeated lines – is used to signpost where the reader’s journey is going throughout the text. Webber also uses images to guide his reader through the collection, there to add comic value to the collection. Poetry can be thought of as the old-fashioned poems we all read at school, but most contemporary poetry isn’t that at all. Genre fluid is young, fun and an accessible read for all. Kate Hewett
Edwardian Nottinghamshire in Colour
There’s something inherently fascinating about the relationship between time and location. Have you ever taken the time to stand in a spot and consider the thousands of people who have stood there a hundred years before you? Or wondered if they thought about the people who came a hundred years before them? It is part of the reason time-travel remains such a popular topic in science fiction: it’s looking at a version of our world that isn’t quite our world.
It’s that intrinsic fascination that made Brian Lund’s book, Edwardian Nottinghamshire in Colour, such an interesting read. Collating dozens of Albert Hindley’s picture postcards from Nottingham and South Notts between 1904-1908, Lund teamed up with photographer Rob Inglis to shoot a series of comparative photos, creating an intriguing, wonderful book that allows readers a glimpse into life in Edwardian Nottingham.
It’s a comprehensive, innovative and thoroughly researched piece of work, offering an in-depth look into dozens of areas in Nottinghamshire, providing information that even the most ardent local historian might not have known. Whether you’re a history buff, have a passing interest in Nottingham’s past or are a complete novice, I highly recommend picking up a copy. Ashley Carter