About Ralf Webb
Ralf Webb grew up in the West Country and now lives in London. His poetry and writing on art and film has appeared widely, including in the Guardian, London Review of Books, the Poetry Review, and Fantastic Man. In 2021 he ran PoetryxClass, an ACE-funded reading group and seminar series examining poetry and publishing culture through the lens of class.
In Rotten Days in Late Summer (which featured in Storysmith’s Books Of The Year 2021), Ralf Webb turns poetry to an examination of the textures of class, youth, adulthood and death in the working communities of the West Country, from mobile home parks, boyish factory workers and saleswomen kept on the road for days at a time, to the yearnings of young love and the complexities of masculinity.
Alongside individual poems, three sequences predominate: a series of ‘Love Stories’, charting a course through the dreams, lies and salt-baked limbs of multiple relationships; ‘Diagnostics’, which tells the story of the death from cancer of the poet’s father; and ‘Treetops’, a virtuosic long poem weaving together grief and mental health struggles in an attempt to come to terms with the overwhelming data of a life.
The world of these poems is close, dangerous, lustrous and difficult: a world in which whole existences are lived in the spin of almost-inescapable fates. In searching for the light within it, this prodigious debut collection announces the arrival of a major new voice in British poetry.
About Sam Buchan-Watts
Sam Buchan-Watts’ debut collection Path Through Wood considers the capacity contemporary lyric poetry has to reflect social change. The many ethical dilemmas these poems enact listen in to the noise which society makes to distract itself – from carceral space to questions of asylum, masculinity and the boundaries of aesthetic play.
Described by the Guardian as a ‘sceptical, serious, versatile writer’, Buchan-Watts variously inhabits poetic form, exposing the interplay of sound, sense and desire. Returning repeatedly to the figure of a vulnerable boy approaching the thicket of adolescence, these are poems that are listening in when they’re not supposed to, distracted when they should be listening in, and finding secret listeners behind the arras. In this disquieting terrain we must hold ourselves to account for what we hear and what we make of what we hear.