John McCullough's debut collection introduces a writer acutely aware of poetry's transformative power, its ability to question assumptions and subtly shift perspective ... Sharp yet compassionate, formal yet nimble, the poems glitter with slang and modern culture while maintaining an engaging seriousness.
Author: Ben Wilkinson Source: The Guardian
[T]he sheer heart-stopping quality of the better poems, however, which make this collection such a rewarding and moving debut.
Author: A.B. Jackson Source: Horizon Review
McCullough has a very distinctive style of voice, creating a close affinity with the reader which builds to a wonderful empathy with the voices in this collection. A remarkable debut, he offers a playful, yet serious set of poetry which is full of nothing other than sincerity.
Author: Liam Parkin Source: LoveReading.co.uk
John McCullough is a delight to read, the poems sit there waiting for you to look at them again ... He’s an origami poet and the pages turn from horses to white capped waves to Sargasso seas to bathetic abyss and back ... It’s a lovely journey to take with a master of his art and I’d recommend this first compilation as an excellent gift for anyone with an interest in contemporary poetry, poetry that explores the LGBT experience of love and intimacy and anyone who likes a damn good read.
Author: Eric Page Source: Gscene Magazine
At the core of John McCullough’s The Frost Fairs is a hard-won and solid-as-granite foundation, a lasting literary achievement that’s replete with range, control, and ambition. Regardless of how far this achievement carries him ― and all indications promise that the ascent will surely be a lofty one ― my affection will remain for the figure at the end of his poem “The Dictionary Man,” the lone boy who’s asleep at his desk, dreaming over the words.
Author: Jason Roush Source: Popsublime
Tipped with voyeurism, each of the poems within displays a real lightness of touch and mischievous freedom, manifested as whisper and anecdote concerning lives glimpsed in passing. Ultimately, this collection needs to be dipped into, in order to get the most impact from each poem. Read all in one go, the quiet play of each interaction risks blurring into the next, as skaters and stallholders on the arrested Thames.
Source: Dr. Fulminare
In his fine debut collection The Frost Fairs, John McCullough turns out tender love poems and imaginative thought experiments with equal aplomb.
Author: Suzi Feay Source: The Independent Books of the Year
The judges were impressed with the polish and precision of the language, the confidence of the writing and the scope of the work. The Frost Fairs isn’t a one-note collection, but one that covers many themes and strikes many chords, from modern transatlantic relationships to hidden gay lives from the past. It’s also surprisingly mature for a first book – a debut which doesn’t feel like a debut.
Author: Paul Burston Source: Head Judge for the Polari First Book Prize
John McCullough is a poet for whom language is a flexible gift. He can be formal and controlled, colloquial and intimate, sensuous and saucy. He enjoys risk-taking in his work, forging unusual juxtapositions of images and ideas, and it’s this playfulness and humour which makes his work, like a stiff sea breeze suddenly hitting you in the face, so refreshing and invigorating.
Author: Catherine Smith
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