Popular Song

Popular Song 

Harry Man

ISBN: 978-1-913437-90-9

eISBN: 978-1-913437-91-6

Price: £11.99

Publication date: 25th April 2024

Format: Paperback / eBook

Territories: World

Extent: 72pp

DCF: Poetry Collections


Cover artwork: Lerson Pannawit


Popular Song, the eagerly awaited debut from Harry Man, is an electric adventure into science, science fiction, poetry and pop culture. Here we encounter the Invisible Man’s search for meaning, traverse time and space through the music of David Bowie, find Wordsworth water-skiing with a clownfish, Ed Sheeran’s superabundant love of typography, and find a new connection with our past by re-watching The Empire Strikes Back in reverse. 


This collection captures both the unearthly beauty of supermarket night shifts and the peculiar dreamscapes of birds of the British Isles – as well as how the term ‘popular’ has the potential to both unite and divide, to move from current obsession to obsolescence and nostalgia. These poems connect with a wonder-filled verbal and melodic energy, considering both the fragility of our position on Earth as well as the hold of our intimacy while we are still bound by its gravity. Playful and cosmic, Popular Song is a jukebox filled with new favourites, beckoning readers out onto the dancefloor of the literary, the unexpected, and the joyful. 


Praise for Popular Song:

'Full of real, tangible objects, historical detail, pop culture glitter canons, flora and fauna, sci-fi locales and uncelebrated spaces … Poems that are frequently tremendously funny and inventive in their processes … beautiful, frightening and convincing.’ – Luke Kennard

‘From treetops to the edge of space, passing through Wordsworth and Schwarzenegger, Harry Man breaks our world apart, then puts it back together in an utterly unique way. In Popular Song you will discover ballads of baleful yet still hopeful futures, sadnesses commingled with a brimful of winning perkiness, an Oulipian, playful generosity that says: sure, life is deadly; let’s have some fun with it. And this is all wrapped up in a riot of exuberant language, that lobs Molotov cocktails of joy into your brain. It’s a giant, wondrous exclamation mark of a book.’ – Rishi Dastidar

‘From gentle-urgent ecstasies of birdsong to marvelling associative ragequits, Popular Song shows Harry Man at his tricksy, attuned best. Catchiness, prediction and heartbreak all find their place in this jukebox of a collection.’ – Eley Williams


‘Harry Man's Popular Song is an elegant hymn of aftermath, sung to an Earth so populated and floundering in lost projects that it dreams only of other worlds. Its bewitching voice is that of a dignified lonely watcher, a haunted witness, a lyrical Wall-E with only time left to talk to. Moving and memorable.’ - Glyn Maxwell


Harry Man has won the Stephen Spender Prize and a Northern Writers Award. He has also been the recipient of the UNESCO Bridges of Struga Award. With Endre Ruset, he co-wrote Deretter (Thereafter) which was published by Flamme Forlag in Norway and in pamphlet form by Hercules Editions in the UK. It was a Dagblaget Book of the Year 2021 and was shortlisted for an Iowa Review Award. His work has been additionally shortlisted for a Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and two Saboteur Awards. He has been a Clarissa Luard Award Wordsworth Trust Poet in Residence and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. He is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University. You can find more of his work at www.manmadebooks.co.uk

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