Poetry Book Society Recommendation
These poems are luminous despatches from the charged, porous boundary between ‘animal’ and ‘human’. They pull apart and remake definitions and categorisations of wildness and civilisation, training their focus on the language we use to describe youth, social class, and the body. From iron horses to grizzly bears, from deep-water fish to scanderoons, Feral roams the limits of power, language, and love. Cinematic, playful, edgy, tender, startlingly imaginative and strange, Feral’s voices carve out a space in the borderlands.
Kate Potts' Whichever Music was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice in 2008 and shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. Her first book-length collection, Pure Hustle, was published by Bloodaxe in 2011. Feral is her second collection.
‘It has taken Potts seven years to write this follow-up to her debut Pure Hustle. It’s been worth the wait. Feral is musical, joyously weird and filled with moments of pure pleasure’ - Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph (Poetry Book of the Month)
‘Kate Potts’s Feral is a revelation of beauty, precision and force' - Kate Wakeling, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)
'Seven years in the making, Feral is the follow-up to Potts's first collection Pure Hustle. It's worth the wait and will surely yield more and more of its gifts on multiple readings.' - Dzifa Benson, Poetry London
'And here’s a lovely paradox to ponder: for a book that is called Feral, the wildness inherent within it is tremendously well channelled and controlled.' - Rishi Dastidar, Magma
'Excitement is one thing that is definitely not missing from Kate Potts’s Feral. The language here dazzles, astonishes; the poems are alive. I would say that the poet is incapable of writing a predictable sentence, but it feels more true to say that she is incapable of writing a predictable word...To read Feral for a while is to find it bamboozling and beautiful, to want to read it for longer. Once that’s done, the only response is to consider it a masterpiece, and to feel that everyone who cares about language should read it.' - Jonathan Edwards, Poetry Wales
‘Feral is a storehouse of manifold enchantments: a book in which lore and personal iconography are melded to startling effect. The technical assurance displayed here alongside a strong beating heart make for a sonically and emotionally rich reading, and re-reading, experience. This collection is “a feat of balance”, as the poem “Iron Horse” has it, where each component gives shape and function to the elegant motion of the whole.’ – Kayo Chingonyi
‘These are poems of a marvellously observed, bodily interiority which engage with our animal selves, at a loss in the concrete warrens of our cities, as they starve or gorge, roam or home. The resulting book is deeply personal, compelling, occasionally hilarious and frequently unsettling as the “strange fish” of our thoughts emerge from their “iron guardedness” and hitch themselves to the amazing railings of these poems. And the radio poem The Blown Definitions is a wonder, a whole island mythos to itself. Kate Potts is one of the foremost writers of our generation. Buy this monstrously brilliant book.’ – Fiona Benson on Feral
'Intricate, vital-tender, dazzling work — Potts’ poetry sings even as it bares its teeth.' – Eley Williams on Feral
'Pure Hustle is a gem of book in which Kate Potts conjures a poetry which astonishes and moves the reader. The texture of her language – its deft and surprising turns, its intense musicality – allows the many voices in these poems to soar. Her curiosity and profound intelligence means that the poems range wonderfully far and wide in setting and subject-matter from the urban clutter of contemporary settings, to modern variations on pastoral, to Penelope weaving, to a beached whale, and more. Kate Potts is a poet whose ear and eye for her work are as close to perfect as can be: Pure Hustle is pure gold.' – Jo Shapcott
Kate Potts reads from Feral
Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Kate Potts reading a selection of poems from Feral at her home in north London in February 2019. The poems she reads here are: ‘Thirty-three’, ‘Animal Song’ (I), ’Stray Dog’, ‘Footnotes to a Long-distance Telephone Call’, ‘Pistons and Bones’, ‘When Glamorous Women Make Age-appropriate Dressing Statements’, ‘Wayfarer’, ‘Catalogue of Strange Fish’, ‘Lullaby Girl’ and ‘PostScript’.