Reviews

Read Carol Ann Duffy’s comments on ‘A Wedding List’, which won the Mslexia/PBS Women’s Poetry Competition in 2018.

On Who Goes There?

‘This collection is all nipped livery and briskness and comes with the lasting sting of the true poet. It will be fascinating to see where Penny Boxall goes next.’ – Andrew Neilson, Magma

On Ship of the Line

‘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

‘Whether surveying the past through a museum display case, counting hares’ ears or summoning a drowned mutineer, Penny Boxall takes us on a mysterious, often unsettling voyage of discovery. With a clear and humane eye, and love of ambivalence and curiosities, she shares her delight in unexpected emotional nuances.’ – Stewart Conn

“Boxall excels in ‘making the familiar strange’. She has a philosophical intelligence and an eye for absurdity. She carefully curates her most thought-provoking experiences and reading, and fills them with meaning; from cataloguing a collection of fabrics to accidentally swiping a bat during an evening tennis match. So many younger poets are preoccupied with relationships and with their place in the world. Boxall casts her net much wider than that; both her fascinating subject matter, and the thoughtful way she treats it, give this collection great charm and maturity. Like a good museum curator, Boxall holds each object up to the light and shows us its relevance with clarity and humour.” – Judi Sutherland. Read the full review here.

“Sometimes poetry collections are a brief flirtation, a dalliance which lights up the afternoon it takes you to read them but once finished, they do not linger much in the mind. Then there are collections which are like sturdy travel companions that you carry for days, weeks and sometimes longer, slowly absorbing their poems. Penny Boxall’s first collection is certainly of the latter kind.” – Richie McCaffery. Read the full review here.

“In this wide-ranging, generous and engaging collection Penny Boxall brings the past vividly and urgently back to life.  She takes us on a wonderfully surprising journey from a taxidermist’s, via the Grand Tour, the Pitt Rivers museum, ice hockey, the Age of Steam, a penny-farthing, a balloon flight, to end up with a deafening beetle buried for years in her grandfather’s ear.” – Michael Laskey

“The poems in Penny Boxall’s rich and substantial debut are made of hidden fragments of history, things half-glimpsed and mistakes that won’t stay hidden. In her beautifully measured lines she takes us to the edge of the familar, to frontiers, to buildings both exotic and eccentric, and chronicles the people who live there, whose lives are held together by ideas, by ‘things that we don’t think to see.'” – Andrew Forster

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