Jo Clement on Radio 4's Start the Week, plus reviews, poem features & books of the year

Jo Clement on Radio 4's Start the Week, plus reviews, poem features & books of the year


‘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)


Jo Clement's first full collection Outlandish, a powerful debut exploring Gypsy, Roma and Traveller identity and culture, was published by Bloodaxe in May 2022. It was shortlisted for the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize 2023, an award which recognises outstanding debut poetry collection, and was longlisted for the 2023 Michael Murphy Prize for a distinctive first volume of poetry.



WritersMosaic, online August 2023

A lyric essay by Jo Clement has gone online at the Royal Literary Fund’s online magazine WritersMosaic. It is illustrated with woodcuts by Thomas Bewick, whose woodcuts also feature in Jo’s debut collection Outlandish. Also available in an audio version narrated by Jo Clement, who describes the piece as ‘a lyric essay placing my Traveller ethnicity in Northeast England’.

The essay is part of a guest edition ‘Blood and belonging’ edited by Louise Doughty featuring pieces by Traveller writers.

‘Blood and belonging – Traveller writers The glory of the Gypsy, Romany and Traveller community lies in its diversity – its amorphous, shape-shifting nature – despite the attempt by the gorjer/gadje or non-Romany world to define that community. The Traveller writers of this edition are guides to its kaleidoscopic journey.’



The Lake, May 2023 issue

An excellent review of Jo Clement’s debut collection Outlandish is featured in the May 2023 issue of The Lake.

‘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

Read in full on The Lake's website here.


‘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)

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

In full by subscription here.


The Scotsman, Poem of the Week, 17 December 2022

Jo Clement’s poem ‘Paisley’ from her debut collection Outlandish was featured as The Scotman’s Poem of the Week on 17 December 2022.

‘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

‘Paisley’ was featured on London Underground posters from 7 November 2022. 
See the poster on the Poems on the Underground website here.  The poster can be ordered from the Poetry Society here.

FT Weekend, Life & Arts, The Poem, Saturday 13 August 2022

‘Larch’ from Jo Clement’s debut collection Outlandish was featured as ‘The Poem’ in FT Weekend’s Life & Arts supplement on Saturday 13 August. The poem one of two in the collection which respond to Wordsworth's poem 'Gipsies'.

In print and online here (register to see a few articles for free, or access the feature via our facebook post).



North East Living, August 2022

A three-page feature on poet Jo Clement is included in the August issue of North East Living magazine.  In the interview Jo speaks about her upbringing as a settled Traveller living on a Darlington council estate, about the influence of her grandfather and father, and more generally about society’s notions of ‘trespass’.  The piece is accompanied by two poems with local references: ‘Wonderful Fish’ and ‘Teesdale Erratics’ – both from Jo Clement’s debut collection Outlandish.

In print.  Online version available if you sign up at Living Magazines here.


Start the Week: Social Inequality - up close, BBC Radio 4, Monday 13 June 2022, 9am (repeated 9.30pm)

Jo Clement was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s flagship discussion programme Start the Week on Monday 13 June, broadcast live from London.  She was discussing social inequality and the cashless society with host Adam Rutherford and fellow guests Darren McGarvey and Brett Scott.

Jo introduced and read her 'incredibly evocative' poem ‘Vardo’ from her debut collection Outlandish, and spoke powerfully about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller history and culture. Her poems 'Knots' - about Wordsworth's poem 'Gipsies' -  and 'Self-portrait as 100 Travellers' were discussed.

‘The poet Jo Clement gives voice to the stories and people of her family’s Romany past. In her collection Outlandish she has no time for Romantic impressions of British Gypsy ethnicity as she moves from ancient stopping-places to decaying council estates. Her poems are imaginative protests that cast light on a hidden and threatened culture.’

Jo features at 11:47 and again at 17:08. 

Listen here.



An in-depth review featured in Issue 7 of The Alchemy Spoon (in print only), September 2022.

'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

Outlandish was reviewed in brief by Will Mackie in the Summer 2022 issue of New & Recent Poetry from the North here.

'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)

'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

A review of Outlandish by the textile artist Imogen Bright Moon was featured on her website here to mark publication.



Enchanted Isle: Kow, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 11 April 2021, 7.45pm, rebroadcast Saturday 12 February 2022, 9.45pm

A short story by Jo Clement was rebroadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 12 February 2022. Originally broadcast in April 2021.  Kow is the re-telling of a Northumbrian folk tale.  Jo Clement’s debut poetry collection Outlandish is published by Bloodaxe in May 2022.

‘An argument between a couple living on the edge of poverty leads to the discovery of a duffel bag full of cash. Or does it? This original short story for Radio 4 revives the Northumberland myth of the Hedley Kow and asks if money really can solve everything. What’s the difference between need and desire? Appearances can be deceiving.’

Listen here.



Tuesday 31 May 2022, live-streamed launch reading by Jo Clement, Sarah Wimbush and Clare Shaw

Bloodaxe's joint launch reading by Jo Clement, Sarah Wimbush and Clare Shaw celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections was live-streamed on 31 May 2022, and is now on YouTube. They were reading from and discussing their new collections with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley, and with each other.  All three poets have won Northern Writers' Awards for poems included in these collections.

Jo Clement read first in each set, followed by Sarah Wimbush. They were reading from their first full collections Outlandish and Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands. Clare Shaw was reading from their fourth collection, Towards a General Theory of Love.   Passionate, mesmerising readings from all three poets, followed by a wonderful discussion during which they drew out the connections between their three books.


 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, from 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.

[21 February 2022]

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