Shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the 2015 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize
Issuing from the body-mind’s grisly interwedge, Heather Phillipson’s poems are a protest against well-stitched seams, an off-loading of intellectual baggage, a shout from the deep-ish channels of fear.
Phillipson's much anticipated debut collection, Instant-flex 718 is an operatics of reactivation. Splicing the leftovers of culture with spurious monologues discharged from an arrhythmic right ventricle or a mouth filled with half-chewed peanuts, the poems unpick and destabilise. The poet is a plasterer, entering the spits and drips with urgency. An internationally exhibiting artist, Phillipson has an impertinence and dynamism incomparably her own. Her poems observe the ordinary world stagger.
'For all the playfulness in Instant-flex 718, it also addresses the weighty issues – mortality, the relationship between mind and body, the extinction of species, religion – and its lively combination of intelligence, verve and humour makes it a debut that is both unusually accomplished and unusually pleasurable to read.' - Carrie Etter, Guardian
'A visual artist’s debut book-length collection, in which a My Little Pony is mutilated for art’s sake and a plate of mashed potato epitomises domestic drift. Levity and a likeable, direct voice make this innovative and entertaining summer reading.' - Maria Crawford, Financial Times Summer Reading Guide
'In poetry, I loved Emily Berry's Dear Boy (Faber), Heather Phillipson's Instant-flex 718 (Bloodaxe) and the whole back catalogue of Ben Lerner...' - Joe Dunthorne, Novelist, The Observer's Books of the Year 2013
'Instant-flex 718 is an explosive first collection from a poet and artist who thrills and disconcerts in equal measures. Heather Phillipson's poems fuse subterranean erotic landscapes with the complex pleasures of thought. They conduct a weird, addictive verbal electricity that can both jolt and elate. Handle with care: this book is not for those who like their poetry safely earthed.' – Mark Ford
'Phillipson’s work is often very funny as it rebounds from one untenable erotic or intellectual position to another...sounding like the love child of Frank O'Hara and Rosemary Tonks.' – Sean O'Brien, Guardian
'Heather Phillipson’s poems display heroic bafflement... a humour both quirky and robust.' – Andrew McCulloch, Times Literary Supplement