Pure Hustle is concerned with imagination – as a means of escape and of illumination, as destructive and redemptive. Its finely honed urban landscapes are shot through with myth, storytelling and the lure of transformation. Kate Potts’ poems are tightly wrought, multi-layered webs built out of sound, rhythm and wordplay that invite re-reading.
With a startling and idiosyncratic eye, often photographic or cinematic, she examines the shifting, fractured nature of memory and the strangenesses of love. Her choice of material and inspiration is enthusiastically wide ranging, incorporating everything from news reports to advertising text to song lyrics, from cross-continental bus trips to the daily commute, from the grand passions and chronic uncertainties of a world in flux to the trials of a day at the office.
'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
‘There is perhaps something otherworldly… in the rich musicality of Kate Potts’ collection. Her poems bubble and squeak with every phonic device you could desire… it’s lithe, bony, sinuous, a writhing lexis that grips its subject hard, sending explorative tendrils deep and offers a powerful conversational voice.’ – Noel Williams, The North, on Pure Hustle
‘An engrossing debut…a human, personal engagement between writer and reader.’ – Charlie Cocksedge, PN Review, on Pure Hustle
‘Her voice is unusual, mesmerising and, at its best, shakes handfuls of words in the reader’s eye like stardust.’ – Clare Crowther, Poetry London, on Pure Hustle
‘Kate Potts is a pickpocket of human experience in this tightly-rhythmed, assonance-jellied, beetle-drawer of a pamphlet. Her skill is not simple pathology, she animates archived fact with human uncertainty and underbellies the leery pose of her urban nature-mortes with anatomical and emotional fragility.' – Jen Hadfield on Whichever Music