Launch reading by Matt Howard and Katrina Porteous

Launch reading by Matt Howard and Katrina Porteous

This online launch reading by Matt Howard and Katrina Porteous, celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections, is now available to watch on our YouTube channel. Both poets read live and discussed their work with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley. This free Bloodaxe launch event was streamed on YouTube Live, and can now be watched below, or on this page:



To order copies of the poets’ books direct from Bloodaxe, please click on these links. If you are in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU, you can order via Books Upstairs in Dublin:


Matt Howard: Broadlands

Katrina Porteous: Rhizodont


Matt Howard: Broadlands

The poems of Matt Howard’s Broadlands are grounded in the reedbeds, meadows and marshes of the Norfolk Broads. They are closely and thrillingly observed from real encounters, inviting us closer to the more-than-human world, its violence, fragility and wonder. Yet the human is always and all the more present; here too are poems of desire, love and grief.

They are poems of the field, imaginings from the conservation of habitats restored and created, working with and for all their constituent species - for we now live in times where everywhere is in some part within the gift of the habitat of the human heart and mind.

Rooted in their locale, but ever ranging elsewhere, to midwives on St Kilda, the Wordsworths and their cuckoo clock in Grasmere or with a virtuoso sedge warbler, singing in a patch of Norfolk reedbed of all the places we share, mimicking the songs of companion species, across continents, deep time and flyways with ‘the cosmic web condensed in his head’.

Redefining what a sense of place might mean, the generous and intimate lyric energy of Broadlands rises from a labour committed, ‘set on this floating ground’.

Broadlands is Matt Howard’s second collection, following his debut Gall (2018) from The Rialto, which won the inaugural Laurel Prize for Best First Collection and the 2018 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry and was also shortlisted for the 2019 Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Prize.


Katrina Porteous: Rhizodont

330 million years ago what is now the rocky shore close to Katrina Porteous’s Northumberland home was a tropical swamp inhabited by three-metre long predatory fish with huge tusk-like teeth. They belonged to a family of lobe-finned fishes which evolved to move on land as well as swim, and which are the ancestors of all four-limbed vertebrates, including humans. The fossil fish found in Northumberland is called the ‘rhizodont’.

Porteous’s new collection begins with a lovingly-observed contemporary journey through these ancient landscapes, from the former coal-mining communities of the Durham coast, where the coal-bearing Carboniferous strata are overlain with younger rocks, to the Northumberland shores where the rhizodont’s remains were found. Against a backdrop of vast geological time and recent fossil-fuel burning history, these poems address current issues of social and environmental change. They are followed by two sequences about aspects of the latest technological revolution – autonomous systems and AI, and the remote-sensing techniques used to explore the most inaccessible reaches of our planet, Antarctica, to measure Earth’s changing climate.

The poems unfold from England’s North-East coast into global questions of evolution, survival and extinction – in communities and languages, and throughout the natural world, where hope resides in Life’s astonishing powers of reinvention.

Rhizodont is Katrina Porteous's fourth poetry collection from Bloodaxe, and extends territory explored in her three previous books. It combines scientific themes from Edge (2019) with the ecological localism of Two Countries (2014) and The Lost Music (1996), both of which were concerned with the landscapes and communities of North-East England.

[28 June 2024]

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