Quick reference to my poetry collections. (Fuller details available after this gallery.)
Other Publications to which I have contributed
Tailor Tacks was published by Mudfog in 1999
“Maureen Almond has a distinctive poetic voice, rich with the gifts of a natural storyteller and a real flair for autobiographical detail. Her imagery combines domesticity with a twist of sensuality and sharp shafts of humour as she peers into the histories and the intimate roots of individuals, families and communities……
Tailor Tacks manages to be both intensely personal and full of universal themes and resonances.
Northern Review, Issue 47, December, 1999
Oyster Baby was published by Biscuit Publishing in 2002
”Maureen Almond’s latest collection is a typically vivacious display, in which the nymphs of classical myth are seen in a distinctly Northern light. Displaced – or are they? – to Teesside, the likes of Chloe and Procris pursue and are pursed by their middle-aged swains across a blasted pastoral landscape (including, of course, Swainby). This is a tender and funny book, much concerned with the unkind metamorphoses of ageing. Whether depicting biting lovers or the sectarian passions of a Catholic upbringing, she brings a sensuous eye to sonnet and free verse. ‘Fragile as a bag of bottles’ it may be, but the love that is able to endure is invoked and celebrated here with real authority”
Professor Desmond Graham
The Works was published by Biscuit Publishing in 2004
‘In the fifty-two poems which make up ‘The Works’, Maureen Almond presents a distinctive poetic voice which is at once earthy, poignant, witty and learned. Here she brings alive the colourful world of working-class Teesside, reflecting on the ebullient and embattled working-class community in which she grew up, dominated by now long-vanished heavy industry and by the daily struggle for status and survival. The landscape of Trafalgar Street, its pubs, chip-shops and dance-halls, its characters and crises, hard men, feisty women, adolescent agonies and children’s quarrels are vividly evoked in this memorable series of poems, which range in tone from forceful satire to elegiac lament but show a constant warm-heartedness and sensitivity of thought.
Particularly impressive is her incorporation into this environment of a complete new version of Horace’s Epodes, showing that this two-thousand-year-old collection of poems of attack, friendship, humour, love, witchcraft and politics can provide effective parallels and fertile literary material for our own time. Horace’s poetry-book, amongst the most bizarre and variegated of Latin works, is relocated in telling detail and with triumphant success from first-century B.C. Rome to a similarly rough, passionate and precarious environment, giving a classical text a major new life through a surging transfusion of poetic and cultural energy.’
Dr. Stephen Harrison,
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
‘This is a hugely enjoyable sequence – brave, touching and real, making a place and a people really come alive. In places it reminds me of some of the best poems in Douglas Dunn’s ‘Terry Street’, especially the way Maureen Almond tiptoes carefully between the temptations of nostalgia and photographic realism. Her use of Horace is fantastic. She writes her characters without their becoming either caricatures or soap-characters or sentimental monsters. She unfreezes the picture so that Billy and Aggie and the rest have a life beyond the time and the place in which they first appear. This sequence of poems makes a very strong collection.’
Tongues in Trees was published by New Writing North in 2005
‘Tongues in Trees’ is a collection of nineteen poems dedicated to those trees condemned during the period of Maureen Almond’s residency at North Lodge Park, Darlington. It serves as a commemoration and those particular trees now exist only in these poems. All proceeds from the sale of this book will be handed to The Friends of North Lodge Park so that the trees can be replaced.
Poet Maureen Almond and photographer Glyn Goodrick’s collection Recollections also excavates antiquity to give voices – and images – to long-lost echoes of a forgotten past. The collection, commissioned by the Museum of Antiquities at Newcastle University, features 28 beautifully-composed photographs of the Museum’s finest Roman artefacts from Goodrick, alongside Almond’s haunting and compelling poems inspired by and/or complementing each one. A 2nd century mortarium from South Shields, photographed by Goodrick with a delicately-lit sprig of fresh herbs, sets the tone: `Take a couple of hundred Roman soldiers,’ begins Almond’s facing poem, `A Recipe for Englishness’, `spice them up with notions of Empire,/ add one Governor, sick for Rome …’
Review by Josephine Balmer
Professor Stephen Harrison
(Fellow and Tutor in Classics, Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Professor of Latin Literature, University of Oxford)
Maureen Almond has taken her place in a line of distinguished English
interpreters of Horace-a line which includes Milton, Marvel), Dryden, Pope, and Tennyson. In The Works, she produced what is surely the most significant creative engagement with Horace’s Epodes in recent times. Her work will continue to be seen as one of the significant contributions to the tradition of English poetry linked to the classics, and one of the freshest and most original bodies of English poetry in our time.
Dr John Talbot
(Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in Classics, Brigham Young University)
Chasing the Ivy is a brilliant and wholly original take on the world of contemporary British poetry, of arts-funding, sponsorships residencies and the glittering prizes.
Maureen Almond draws on Horace’s Odes to lay bare the vanity, envy, snobbery and ambition of so much of the poetry scene – fading poets, fashionable poets and amateur poets – with the satirical bite of Pope, Swift and Dryden. But Chasing the Ivy is also a hymn to the civilised Horatian virtues of work, community and friendship, gentle comedy and wise seriousness.
The recurring concerns of Maureen’s work – trenchant social analysis, ageing and nostalgia, contemporary politics, and the difficulties of maintaining one’s own voice in the face of a competitive literary community and established poetic tradition – make for a strongly Horatian brew, but in Chasing the Ivy the originality of conception, sensitivity to structure, and liveliness of language go well beyond the laborious straitjacket of translation.
Dr. L. B. T. Houghton
Department of Classics, University of Glasgow