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Alarum
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Table of Contents

I 11 The air itself 12 If I forget this, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth 14 Some Waynes 15 Everything is always sometimes broken 17 The Warning Notes 18 Doo-wop 19 No Worries 20 What Happened Was This 21 So Many Different Ways to Talk About the Same Thing 23 Worship Music 24 Self Portrait #2 25 When the itching became too great 26 I hope this will explain everything: 27 (SOME VIOLENCE) II 43 The Politics of Birds 44 The Language 45 Sarah Sarsaparilla 46 Sympathy for Toast 47 Grandfather, with Flowers 48 Tina, understand 49 Self Portrait #3 50 Poem in Which 51 If I'm Ever to Find These Trees Meaningful I Must Have You by the Thighs 53 Cake 54 Why 55 Pear Tree 56 Lucky 57 There is absolutely no way to make this real life interesting 60 He left the body as fluids 61 Alarum 62 Short 64 Notes

About the Author

Wayne Holloway-Smith was born in Wiltshire and lives in London. His first book-length collection, Alarum (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Wildcard Choice for Winter 2017, was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017 and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection 2018, and longlisted for the 2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize for a distinctive first book of poetry. The final poem in the collection, 'Short', won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize 2016. His book of poetry, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE WENDING, was published by Test Centre Publications in 2018. He won the National Poetry Competition 2018 for 'the posh mums are boxing in the square' from his second book-length book of poetry, Love Minus Love (Bloodaxe Books, 2020). Love Minus Love was shortlisted for the 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize and was also a Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice.

Reviews

'Alarum is a collection composed in the "mournful shadows", skulking beneath your window at that very hour of a sleepless night when you feel most alone, to deliver up to you its glorious, melancholy verdict on living. By turns abject, bereft, exultant and belligerent, the poems' voices reckon with the things we can't get hold of (or get rid of) via a kind of reification, whereby non-material things - air, anxiety, heartbreak - take on an unbearable substance. Thus Wayne Holloway-Smith - "Magic Wayne with flowers", among other incarnations - finds himself negotiating with the objects or creatures that "fell out" of his mind, becoming real: a population of crows that need "constant attention", or a Punch and Judy still wielding weapons. Always concerned with what happens in the margins, Alarum's own margins are full of violence - the violence that occurs at society's edges and the violence entailed when pulling back from those edges amounts to a kind of self-erasure. "Alarum" also means "a call to arms" and, in speaking its fears aloud, this is a collection of poems that fights back.' - Emily Berry; 'There's an awful lot of poetry about these days. You can barely walk across the living room without stubbing your toe on a bit or getting some in your eye. But the thing is, not much of that poetry (in fact almost none of it) is actually poetry. Mostly it's just wearing an outfit that gives it the appearance of being poetry so it can pass itself off as such to the undiscerning or the unhurt. The most important thing I'd say about Wayne Holloway-Smith's book is that it actually is, unmistakably, poetry. When you look inside it you find yourself go quiet because you recognise that someone with a peculiar openness has been still and listened to the world and written down what it said. This book is funny, clever, serious, touching, and extraordinarily imaginative. Also it has a certain unguarded gentleness about it, by that I mean, it has a certain old-fashioned courtesy, the courtesy of the gent. That is a rare quality too I think. To recommend it sounds a bit glib. But I unequivocally do.' - Mark Waldron

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