Matthew Francis

Adventurous and illuminating, Matthew Francis’s new poetry collection is full of flight, air and possibility.

Date Published
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Matthew Francis’s latest collection celebrates the richness of nature and of our responses to it. The pleasures of summer are emblazoned in the colourful wings and evocative names of butterflies, while a nocturnal encounter with an earwig becomes a joyous incantation to the ‘witchy-beetle, forkin-robin’ of dialect. His love of history, embodied in his acclaimed Mandeville and The Mabinogi, gives rise to a sequence based on Robert Hooke’s microscopic observations. There are tributes to the poets Basho, Dafydd ap Gwilym and W. S. Graham, to fireworks, apple varieties, and hot toddies. And, in a moving elegy for a friend killed in a parachute accident, Francis shows us a vertiginous vision of a world where even the dead ‘sleep on the wing’.

Critic Reviews

[Francis's] gifts are quiet but his name deserves to be broadcast loudly. Nature does not go out of fashion and we need poetry of this quality more than ever. Wing, his new collection, is a joy.

Observer Poetry Book of the Month
Critic Reviews

Outstanding. Poignant, sensitive, intricate, witty, it captures both panorama and microcosm.

The Tablet
Critic Reviews

In total command of his craft . . . The whole laborious business of finding the right word has become an unhurried rhapsody. What better for this time of uncertainty and fear?

Critic Reviews

Linguistic precision sustains his new collection . . . The sense of discovery and delight is palpable.


Matthew Francis is the author of four Faber collections, most recently Muscovy (2013). He has twice been shortlisted for the Forward Prize, and in 2004 was chosen as one of the Next Generation poets. He has also edited W. S. Graham’s New Collected Poems, and published a collection of short stories and two novels, the second of which, The Book…

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