Adventures in poetry
Publication date: 14th April 2015
Love, sex, boats and friendship. And yet Jo Bell’s second poetry collection, Kith, is about so much more, as these bold and generous poems interweave bigger questions of place, identity and community and what these mean to us, here and now.
Delighting in the belting, beautiful turn-of-phrase, Jo Bell’s poems are lyrical and joyous, but always precise and clear as birdsong. They take us the long way home, plot histories along the route of backwaters, and are occasionally diverted for a roll in the hay; hearts are broken and boats are dry-docked. There will be tears, but there will also be love, safe harbours, and the company of wise and faithful kith.
'Witty, sexy and deft, Jo Bell’s verse has an easy charm that hides a sometimes painful honesty. There is melancholy as well as mischief here, and a real poets' eye and ear for the foibles of being human. Kith is a wonderful collection.' – Stuart Maconie
‘Jo Bell is one of the most exciting poets now writing and no time is wasted in the company of her work.’
– Carol Ann Duffy
‘Any time you are tempted to think that humour in poetry means 'light verse', turn to Jo Bell. You will find lightness, certainly, but in the sense of deftness, a light touch aimed at something lit up, suddenly, close to the heart.’ – Philip Gross
Jo Bell was born in Sheffield and grew up on the fringes of the Derbyshire Peak District, leaving school just after the Miners’ Strike. She became an industrial archaeologist, specialising in coal and lead mines. A winner of the Charles Causley Prize and the Manchester Cathedral Prize, she was the first Canal Laureate for the UK appointed by the Poetry Society and the Canal & River Trust. She lives on a narrowboat on the English waterways. Kith (Nine Arches Press) is Jo Bell’s second collection of poems.