Poetry Subscription #3: Introducing Jo Brandon
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Jacqueline Saphra described Brandon's previous collection as "a delicious cornucopia of twisted tales," and we're very much here for this medicinal tonic that isn't shy of snake oil or miracle cures, focusing on our intimacies, inventions and insides.
Brandon very kindly shared the top five books that inspired her while she was writing her new collection, and the list roams across genres and eras with a keen – scalpel-like! – curiosity.
Click on the titles to browse and buy, and say hi to Jo and Valley Press at:
The Knife Man, Wendy Moore
Incredible biography of a fascinating and controversial individual. Wendy Moore explores the life and work of 18thcentury surgeon John Hunter, who was the inspiration for both Dr Jekyll and Dr Dolittle. I read a lot of non fiction when I’m writing poetry because I love discovering fascinating people and nuggets of information. Very often other interesting characters pop up too, as was the case with this book, I came across female bone-setter Sarah Mapp, who I just had to write a poem about!
Charlotte Gordon explores the lives of two incredible women, mother and daughter, and how they impacted literary history. Came away from this book energised and filled with admiration for these remarkable women. In fact, just writing this has made me want to read it all over again!
Kindred, Octavia E. Butler
An incredible novel that explores issues of race, gender and power. A story of time travel that is so intricately woven but also gut-wrenchingly immediate and utterly immersive. One reviewer described Butler’s prose ‘as pared back to the bone’ and I can’t improve on that description. A book that you can’t stop thinking about afterwards.
The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of the British Isles, Steve Roud (please note: this book may take up to 2 weeks to deliver)
This is my go-to book whenever I want to get the creative juices flowing. Packed full of fascinating superstitions and rituals. Sometimes I just open it a random and start free-writing about the topic I fall on. Perfect book to have near your desk and dip in and out of.
Let Me Tell You This, Nadine Aisha Jassat
I saw Nadine Aisha Jassat perform from this collection at Bradford Literature Festival a few years ago and was utterly spellbound. Her poetry is strong and beautiful with a throbbing lyricism. The collection explores themes of heritage, gender, racism and making your voice heard. A really exciting poet both on and off the page.