The front cover is tempting: a mysterious title, Auscultation, a quotation that describes the collection as ‘unique and utterly original’ and an image of a butterfly resting on a stethoscope. On the back, the claim that the poems explore ‘the brutal and beautiful world of being a vet and a stepmother’ is startling. The first […]
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Pain Sluts

Ed Garland enjoys these touching stories of everyday drama, affection and dissociation, some flagged with a cosmic backdrop, others, glimpsed through an uncomfortable aura

PUBLISHED ON: 22/11/21


Before the 1900s, people used to assemble makeshift lamps called sluts. The OED definition offers supporting evidence from Anne Ellis’ Life of an Ordi …

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Tiger Girl

Vicky MacKenzie lauds an eighth collection, shimmering with beauty and rage, by the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize-winning poet, a writer who refuses to flinch

PUBLISHED ON: 03/11/20


Tiger Girl shimmers with beauty and rage: for every exquisite description of a bird or tiger, there’s an incident of cruelty and horror, unfolded on t …

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The Hare Book and The Hedgehog Book

Suzy Ceulan Hughes recommends two gorgeous, stunningly illustrated hardback books which treat wildlife to a cultural, factual feast

PUBLISHED ON: 29/09/20


In an essay in the current issue of New Welsh Reader [Issue 124], I confessed to my obsession with hares. And I drew on Jane Russ’ The Hare Book for i …

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Under the Stars: A Journey into Light

What starts as a roam across Britain and between shade and night, soon becomes, Alex Diggins concludes, an impressive polemic on the need to preserve darkness and hold back the encroachment of artificial light

PUBLISHED ON: 30/06/20


Years ago, somewhere between childhood and maturity, I took to night walking. We lived at that time in a village on the edge of the Somerset countrysi …

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Places seem to connect with each other more successfully than do people in this follow-up interconnected story collection, writes Jacob Powell

PUBLISHED ON: 29/06/20


Shattercone is the second collection of linked short stories by author Tristan Hughes, and includes a number that have been previously published. All …

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The Last Giants: The Rise and Fall of the African Elephant

Amy Aed reviews the non-fictional novel The Last Giants that educates on the intelligence of and injustice towards African elephants

PUBLISHED ON: 17/04/20


The Last Giants is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and educational book by Levison Wood, a man who is often regarded as one of the best explorers of the T …

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Suzanne and Gertrude

Ed Garland ruminates on this tranquil, graceful and exuberant novel about the relationship between community and recovery, the latest contribution to the literary sub-tradition of donkey as foil or mirror to the human condition

PUBLISHED ON: 01/04/20


Some writers tether their donkeys to a sense of chronic hopelessness. Maybe this tradition began with Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. You might also know …

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Connecting the Dragons

Amy Aed admires the wonders of amphibian and reptilian creatures as she recounts her experience at the fascinating talk of Mark Barber, a member of a Welsh Conservationist Group.

PUBLISHED ON: 26/02/20


I’ll let you in on something that I have scarcely told anyone before: a part of me secretly wants to become a zoologist. I’ve always loved the idea of …

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Hawks of Dust and Wine

Sarah Tanburn

PUBLISHED ON: 23/07/19


My parents lived in an old farmhouse in Brycheiniog. From our sitting room you could see the hills rolling away. The sun lit a different field, the ne …

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