Poetry Monthly, 2005 -  £4.00


Accessible and often humorous, this collection is a sampler of Attrill’s work—from the reworking of an ancient joke in ‘A Horse Walks Into a Pub’ to the minimalist elegance of ‘Reflections One Summer Afternoon’.

    Attrill has a knack for teasing the extraordinary out of the everyday. In ‘Stargazing’, the open mouth of a sleeping tramp becomes the black hole at the heart of a collapsing universe, while in ‘You Don’t See Many Of Them Round Here’ a woolly mammoth lumbers up a suburban avenue, stopping obediently for a red light: 

‘Don’t see many of them round here,’ said a man in a cap

standing next to me. ‘No,’ I said, ‘not anymore.’

Not for ten thousand years

    Perhaps the strongest poems, though, deal with the passion that burns beneath the surface of daily life, often personified as a wild and dangerous creature. In ‘Beast’, the lover is a coarse animal fuelled by lust, whom even love cannot redeem, while in ‘Wolf’ (for my money, the best poem in this group):  

it burns until your blood is on fire,

until you can no longer

stand it, until

you throw back your head

and swallow the moon. 

Occasionally, too much detail creeps in and the prosaic dominates, but Attrill’s ability to focus on what lies just outside the field of vision makes ‘Lateral History’ a worthy winner of the 2005 Poetry Monthly Open Booklet Competition. 

Sarah Willans