Jo Clement's first collection confronts Romantic impressions of British Gypsy ethnicity and lyrically lays them to rest. From Wordsworth to Top Gear, her poems invite us to consider notions of otherness, trespass, and craft. She steps between ancient stopping places and mardy council estates to trill elegiac Romanes, English, and birdsong about witches, wild camping, and Silver Cross prams. Compelled by a brutal Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller diasporic legacy, Outlandish tenderly praises the poem-as-protest and illuminates a hidden and threatened culture.
Born in Darlington in 1986, Jo Clement received a scholarship to gain a PhD in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She has published two pamphlets, including Moveable Type (2020). She is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, Editor of Butcher’s Dog poetry magazine, and founded the imprint Wagtail with support from the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).
'It is very rare to find a young poet with such an alert musical ear, able to listen ahead for the shape of a sound yet to be uttered.' – Sean O’Brien
'Here is delight – these poems, rich and strange, brim from ‘the skim/of blood that can’t settle’. Jo Clement’s gifts shine and dazzle: amongst the darting, many-layered music of her imagery and sensuous evocation of northerly landscapes gleams a clear-sightedness politically aware and historically acute. Meaning is interrogated as a riverine process and emerges, movingly, in significances found later. Part urban fable, part re-imagining of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture, these poems are beautifully made to be read and re-read, savoured for their sharp, apple-bite tenderness, their truth and wisdom, their sheer originality.' – Pippa Little
'This is the word of the weathered hand and of the hard, hale youth; the tattered treasure, the grafter and the fetter-breaking wild. These intoxicating and fine-sprung poems instantly place Clement in the front rank of Traveller writers. May they also relight our wonder at the depths of all unsung Englands.' – Damian Le Bas
Crown: a poem film by Jo Clement
‘Crown’ is from Outlandish, a collaborative work of poetry and drawing by the writers Jo Clement and Damian Le Bas and the artist W. John Hewitt, commissioned by Durham Book Festival and New Writing North in 2019. The poem is now included in her debut book-length collection with the same title, Outlandish. Taking St Cuthbert’s Way – a modern walking trail based on an ancient pilgrims’ path – as its starting point, it is a vision of North East England and South East Scotland through shifting gazes. Here are pilgrims, Romanies, grandparents, herons, Transits, castles, mudflats, B-roads, clay pipes, periwinkles, silk and fire.
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