British Titles

Ralph Hawkins - The MOON, The Chief Hairdresser (highlights)


Available only direct from Shearsman Books.

Ralph Hawkins - The MOON, The Chief Hairdresser (highlights)

Paperback, 110pp, 9x6ins 
Download a PDF sampler from this book here.

The first full-length collection since the early 1990s by this highly original English poet. The volume includes the 'Pushkin' poems, previously only available in pamphlet form, as well as some 80 pages of previously uncollected work.


"Ralph Hawkins' poems always give the impression of turning up late and being drunk when they do arrive. They minimize the gap of "constructive effort" between the basic seeking of pleasure and pleasurable sensations, and the "mediated" pleasure of the poem. […]  

He does not bother with stage-setting. Each poem launches us into a series of “direct experiences” from whose course we could work out the shape of the self experiencing them. We could either take the individual events and fit them into our own self-experience, or we could take each book as constructing a new "shell self", a role we can both play for a while. Hawkins is not asking how experience happens, but by describing the course of a self he answers the question anyway. The course is one of attention, constantly switching on and off, jumping between planes; Hawkins' method is to eliminate whatever is not interesting, and his poetic line is as rapid, sporadic, shifting, polyvalent, slight and self-reversing as consciousness itself. We could describe his work as anarchistic, because it does not confirm any of the classificatory and causal judgments of our law-abiding society, and experiences absolutely no urge to replace these with a new set of rules and values. […]

The removal of conventional connections leaves a vast space for originality — his style is located the edits, the jumps." (Andrew Duncan)

"References in the poems are wide and dizzying, drawing on history, myth, popular culture. But they wear their learning lightly. They're absorbing, playful (though serious in intention), sometimes very funny, and never boring. These poems probably wouldn't win the national poetry competition. They're far too interesting." (Cliff Yates, The North)

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