Publication date: 4th August 2022
DCF: Poetry Collections
Cover artwork by Jacky Howson @jackyhowsonartist (Instagram)
Ramona Herdman’s Glut is a lush, entertaining, and bittersweet collection of poems about how we live together and find meaning through rules and rituals around food, family, alcohol, work, nature, sex and love. These vividly-realised, nimble poems probe at the delicate balancing acts we – our bodies and our minds – perform in life: between power and trust, between convention and rebellion, and between what is enough and what is too much.
All the time, Herdman’s spry poetry keeps a gimlet eye on our impulse to make sense of it all – of how we live and work together, and what strategies will help us to navigate our way through the tangled undergrowth of negotiation and misunderstanding. Glut is a lustrous, darkly funny, open-hearted book on the distance between people, on satisfying appetites, and on seeking both pleasure and consolation.
Praise for Glut:
“There's a sense in this collection of what poetry might jubilantly offer in the face of adversity, or absurdity, a touch of Maya Angelou's 'I rise'. There are so many poems here to treasure. Those on drinking are terrific, the exquisite 'Ship in a bottle', for instance, and the very moving 'Two death in the afternoons, please'. Read Ramona Herdman's poems and rise.” – Moniza Alvi
"There is a quiet ferocity about these poems that cuts through easy moralising and habitual judgements. Their clear-eyed and full-bodied sympathies probe contradictions in herself as boldly as those in the world around her. There is nothing sentimental in the love, or in the loss, that give this work its restlessness; the moments that win through to tenderness ring palpably true." - Philip Gross
“How do we get our fill of life? In Herdman’s candid, playful poems, appetites of all kinds – cocktails, cheeseboards, sex, power – lure us to the brink and beyond. From the dynamism of the first page to the poignant care of the last, Glut wrings the most out of living in all its gritty, glorious detail. Vitality surges through Herdman’s work, urging us to ‘toast life as it is’ and savour every glittering moment.” - Heidi Williamson
“Glut is disarmingly and refreshingly intimate and entirely original. Herdman has a gift for showing us the vulnerable underbelly of human experience and doing so with love, kindness and radical empathy. Expectations of relationships, interdependence, addiction, eating disorders, insecurity, pain of all kinds, chaos, and so much more, all have a place here and are explored with considerable poetic skill, tenderness and humour. Herdman’s brilliant and moving depictions of alcoholism are particularly stirring and like nothing I have read on the topic before. Her descriptions are also so unforgettable, ‘Ash powdering the genital leatherette folds around the gearstick’ (‘The car after the car’). This is a stunning book about being disillusioned by the act of living, of managing a body and all its needs, and despite, or because of this, celebrating its softness, ‘I feel sorry for the soft places’ (‘Low pain threshold’). It is appropriate then that this miraculous collection ends on the word ‘love’ as the poems pulsate with that most essential of emotions, ‘Come home safe/Come home love’ (‘Night heart’). Glut is a true and rare gift.” - Victoria Kennefick
Ramona Herdman’s latest pamphlet, A warm and snouting thing (The Emma Press), was shortlisted in the poetry category of the East Anglian Book Awards. Her previous pamphlet Bottle (HappenStance Press) was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. One of her poems was chosen for the Poetry Archive’s WordView 2021 and another won the Poetry Society’s Hamish Canham prize 2017. Ramona lives in Norwich and is a committee member for Café Writers.