In Dirty Looks, Cheryl Follon serves up a fiery gumbo of playful poems drawing on the shadowy side of love. The book presents a wild Rabelaisian carnival of poetry, stories and boisterous monologues flavoured by Deep South folk and foibles, by Scottish ballads and bawdy tales, and by the jaded love chroniclers of ancient Greece and Rome.
While some poems touch on more tender times, their main concern is with the thoughtlessness, jealousy, spite, deception and self-delusion that can go hand in glove with love. But for all their darkness, the poems are spiced with saucy humour and a lively, often wicked wit, and set against a sultry backdrop of Louisiana in summertime.
'These marvellous poems are a sustained achievement. They all have a kind of Regency air to them, founded in the context of Burns which they acknowledge, but with deeper roots and associations: Dunbar, the Ballads and ultimately Ovid' – Bernard O’Donoghue
'A feast of a book, with sensuality, earthiness and physicality served like dishes never known before, but Cheryl Follon is also bringing old traditions dramatically to life in these scrumptious poems…both wild and formal, with poems that are beautifully shaped and deeply, genuinely dramatic – grippingly so' – Brendan Kennelly