Cheryl Follon is a new Scottish writer who presents a wild carnival of bawdy tale-telling, songs and boisterous monologues – all in a rowdy spirit of earthy celebration. The poems of All Your Talk – her first collection – are lucid and lusty, direct and daring, spiced with down-to-earth humour and a lively, often wicked wit. Rooted in ballad and storytelling traditions, she describes her poetry as ‘like boiling an old turnip and straining off a contemporary soup’.
‘This is 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. The loving, cursing, blessing, threatening, mocking and lusty gossiping in All Your Talk, as well as beautiful fluent streams of ancient pagan freedoms, make this a stunningly robust début collection.
‘All Your Talk is both wild and formal, with poems that are beautifully shaped and deeply, genuinely dramatic – grippingly so. This creates a really attractive, at times spellbinding, mix of formal restraint and surging ecstasy or abandon or wildness or Dionysiac fling. It’s as though a riot observed a ritual’ – Brendan Kennelly
‘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 (and, for the Irish reader, Merriman). What is distinguished here is the confidence to stick largely to a single form, even if it is one that the writer is so good at: local stories, translated with immense linguistic brio into the voice of a modern woman-Ovid’ – Bernard O’Donoghue