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Rachael Allen

Kingdomland is the debut poetry collection of Rachael Allen – a writer of rare vision and flair.

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Kingdomland is the debut poetry collection of Rachael Allen – a writer of rare vision and flair. The world she creates is suffused with surreal images and uncanny incidents. Unexplained violences and strange metamorphoses take shape in the ‘glowering dusk’. And yet, all too clearly, we recognise life here on earth, its everyday griefs, dysfunctions and injustices. Where distinctions between murder and bloodletting, corruption and consumption are blurred. Where a pet tarantula or mimic octopus might find itself beside glands and processed meats. Landscapes shift and identities dissolve: ‘the red bricks of the day’ exist ‘in a woman’s chest’, a human presence is ‘embedded in the walls’. All appears changed, but familiar.

Intercut with oblique verse fragments and a series of linked sequences, Allen blends elements of fiction and ekphrasis to create a haunting and unforgettable debut.

Critic Reviews

‘Don’t be fooled by this book’s bright orange jacket: it’s not cheerful, it’s on fire … I want to quote dozens of Allen’s lines for the joy of their precise surprise …what a start to a poetic career.’

Jeremy Noel-Tod, Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

‘Rachael Allen’s debut, Kingdomland, will surprise those who first encountered her through the Faber New Poets series. Where those early poems were often droll and precisely contemporary, full of youth’s shoulder-shrugging ennui, this first book has an urgency and a quieter seriousness … Disturbing, unnerving and aware, these poems linger through effective image-making.’

Ben Wilkinson, Guardian
Critic Reviews

Any attempt to place Allen evades the challenge of her writing, softening the blow of its disturbances.

Matthew Bevis, London Review of Books

Rachael Allen’s first collection of poems, Kingdomland (2019), was a Poetry Book Society Choice. She was the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award and an Eric Gregory Award. She was born in Cornwall and works as an editor and lecturer in London.

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