Suzanne Batty writes bold, flamboyant, risky poems which come from left field and Manchester, mixing dogs and people, mean streets and threats from inside. In her first book-length collection, The Barking Thing, the real and unreal are deliberately confused. The book creates a fantastical landscape in which actual experience can be transformed through archetypes and fairytales, urban myths and nightmares.
The poems chart a journey from mental anguish to spiritual joy – and back again. The writing balances on a sharp edge between sanity and madness, between meaning and insignificance, with a dark humour and a tight grip on life. And through it all there is the wisdom of dog – a spiritual mentor who cocks a leg at doubt and despair.
‘Sharp, intelligent and unsettling, Suzanne Batty’s work is distinctive. Batty writes about twins, mental illness, love and families with a wry humour. She writes to find out who she is and in doing so helps us discover who we are. She is original, brave, unflinching.’ – Jackie Kay