Date: 4th October 2018
Extent: 80 pp
BIC Code: DCF
Hate was easy, loving was hard, hate lay down
like a rotten fruit but loving needs to be nurtured.
Roy McFarlane’s second poetry collection, The Healing Next Time, is a timely and unparalleled book of interwoven sequences on institutional racism, deaths in custody and of a life story set against the ever-changing backdrop of Birmingham at the turn of the millennium. Here forms a potent and resolute narrative in lyrical and multidimensional poems which refuse to look the other way or accept the whitewashed version of events.
Courageous, rageful and mournful, these are poems of Black history and Black presence, poems of witness and poems of activism. McFarlane’s intricate lines make record of injustice and mark the names of those who have lost their lives and dignity to prejudice and hatred. The Healing Next Time also asks vital questions of the future, and of the reader – and reminds us where the power to change things lies. It is also a poetry of personal discovery, of revelation and resilience – where the influence of Jazz and of James Baldwin infuse and shape this unique, remarkable book.
'Claudia Rankine's 'Citizen' contains the following key exchange from a visit to the UK: “Will you write about Duggan? The man wants to know. Why don't you?” Few rose to this challenge but Roy McFarlane's distinguished new collection The Healing Next Time takes on a whole history of official abuse and killing here with powerful and technically various poetry. McFarlane traces our hostile environment for new citizens, particularly those of colour, into some ugly corners, but it is a book of great love too, even when he’s dancing with ghosts, as he does here in a wonderful poem of that name. I cannot recommend The Healing Next Time enough.' - Ian Duhig
Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton. He has held the role of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate and Starbucks’ Poet in Residence. Roy’s writing has appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe 2012) and he is the writer and editor of Celebrate Wha? (Smokestack 2011). His first full collection of poems, Beginning With Your Last Breath, was published by Nine Arches Press in September 2016.
This debut collection of poems by former Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane explores love, loss, adoption and identity in powerful, precise and emotionally-charged poetry. From bereavement comes forth a life story in poems; the journey of sons, friends, lovers and parents, and all the moments of growing-up, discovery, falling in and out of love and learning to say goodbye that come along the way.