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Outlandish | Bloodaxe Books

Jo Clement


Jo Clement

Publication Date : 26 May 2022

ISBN: 9781780376141

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Shortlisted for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize 2023

Longlisted for the 2023 Michael Murphy Memorial Poetry Prize

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.

Outlandish from Jo Clement was an evocative, beautiful, and challenging narrative of British Gypsy ethnicity.’ – Sam Illingworth, Poetry News (Christmas Reading, 2022)

‘As vivid as engravings, the poems in Jo Clement’s debut collection Outlandish braid together a richness of language and a precision of imagery to illuminate Traveller identity and Roma culture. These are poems of clarity and lyricism that sing of people, places, and the beauty of what is passed down.’ – Kris Johnson (Poetry Society Books of the Year 2022)

‘… an exciting new voice in poetry… Clement’s poems ricochet between the council estate in Darlington where she grew up, forced to settle, and the wild beauty of Northumberland, touching on the eighteenth-century wood engravings of Thomas Bewick. The rhythms and allusions are enchanting, the imagery fresh, clear and strong.’ – Anna Picard, Times Literary Supplement (Summer Books 2022)

'Illuminating and imaginative, Jo Clement's debut collection, Outlandish, explores the myriad, at times contradictory, perspectives on the much under-represented traveller culture, questioning the social, cultural and class stereotypes around the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller identites.' – Jennifer Wong, The Poetry Review

'These poems address her heritage, and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture, in a rich, lyrical and beguiling way... This is a collection that repays rereading, partly for the musicality, partly for the vivid, economical imagery, and importantly, for the window that it opens on a culture that many of we 'gorgers' think we know about but, in reality, understand very little.' – Diana Cant, The Alchemy Spoon, on Outlandish

‘Her first full length poetry collection finds her in confident voice, whether writing about her intimate experiences of belonging, or exploring the canon of literature, and the ‘othering’ perpetuated by dominant cultures in contemporary society... every page articulates the truth of the making of this remarkable poet.’ – Hannah Stone, The Lake, on Outlandish

‘Jo lives in the north east of England, with roots in the Roma Traveller community. .. Her poetry considers notions of otherness, under-represented identities, communities under threat, and sings of wild beauty and brutality.’ – The Scotsman, Poem of the Week

'These deeply personal poems are rich with the lexicon of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller life.  They bear the weight of suspicion and violence directed towards those who live within the rhythms and currents of the natural world... Many of the poems hold notes of such tenderness, they stop your breath.' – Shash Trevett, Poetry Book Society Bulletin, Summer 2022

'Jo Clement’s eagerly anticipated first collection, Outlandish is tender, energetic and deeply personal. These careful and intelligent poems are full of musicality and sing with the language and culture of Roma communities. This book is a joy to read and lose yourself in.' – Will Mackie, New Writing North (New & recent poetry from the North, Summer 2022)

'In this collection of poetry, Jo Clement gives voice to the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community. Her lyrical imagery conjures the beauty of the natural landscapes across which they have lived and travelled. The reader is given insight into their culture and traditions, and the skills that are passed from generation to generation... This collection would be an ideal collection to broaden A Level students' experience of reading poetry that explores identity and ethnicity, and the life experiences that help shape, develop, and define culture.' – Jane Broadis, The School Librarian

'Jo Clement writes in response to Gypsy, Roma, Traveller communities & to outsiders' dehumanising of the Roma. I loved this book for its sense of celebration, for its language, imagination & deep connection to the wild. Brava.' – Katrina Naomi, Short & Sweet (Recommended Read for May 2024), on Outlandish

'Jo Clement writes poems of wonderful imagination, energy, and adventure, combining her magical intelligence with a brilliantly orchestrated language drawn from the words of the Roma and the worlds through which they invisibly travel.’ – David Morley

'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

Jo Clement reads from Outlandish at the 2022 Newcastle Poetry Festival

Jo Clement reads from her 2022 collection Outlandish. She reads: a section from “Vault”; ‘Self-portrait as 100 Travellers’; ‘Vardo’; ‘Teesdale Erratics’; ‘Larch’; ‘Haunt’ and ‘At Eildon’. Filmed by Peter Hebden. Special thanks to Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts.


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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Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands

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