"Black Country is an extraordinary debut...rooted in place
. When you close the book, you can still see the Black Country in your mind's eye, as if all the poems in it were coming together to form a continuous landscape, a single yet varied view. These poems need to be studied slowly yet there is, as one reads on, a sense of gathering speed, a flightiness, a readiness to soar... She writes, in the best sense, on a wing and a prayer
. What marks out this writing is its sparing but assured use of Midlands dialect. This is writing of warmth, maturity and intermittent eroticism
. Liz Berry knows her own flight-path, that is for sure." (Kate Kellaway Observer
"Superb... a sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands
, scattered with words of dialect that light up the lines like lamps. Expect to hear a great deal more from her in years to come.
"This is as writer I'm thrilled to discover
-- someone who takes pride in the Midlands... turning ordinariness into something direct, tender and
beautiful." (Bel Mooney Daily Mail
"Liz Berry is an extraordinary poet: passionate, precise, moving and deeply real
. The voice and heat of the Black Country are here, the old tenderness and the complex strands of identity, the humour and the music." (A.L. Kennedy)
"These are poems of great vitality and charm
. Seasoned with the dialect of Liz Berry’s home territory, but with a linguistic and lyric freshness independent of that, they offer nourishment
– right bostin fittle, in fact – to readers hungry for the real thing.
" (Christopher Reid)
The incandescent debut from Liz Berry. Winner of the Forward Prize Best First Collection 2014, and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.