Individual Collections

Over the years we have come to know a number of wonderful poets, writers and essayists.
we are proud to present their work to you.
Clicking on any book will allow you to discover more about the author
and should you wish to add the book to your shopping cart please pop over to the bookshop
by selecting the bookshop button to the left.

Cover Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something

Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something

Survival after becoming single at forty requires a complete metamorphosis from that dark soul clinging to the underside of leaves. Maria Stephenson takes us through the phases of pupation that make up the emergent new you. Only someone who has undergone such a crucial transformation can properly observe the toxicity of a dying relationship and how the decay seeps into everything; and can remark on the vibrant new person who flies free.

Although these poems are written from a female perspective they have appeal to readers of either sex; indeed many have noted that there are very few resources available to those in this situation.

In Maria’s own words: “up until my fortieth birthday in 2013, I was living in the depths of despair with a controlling, abusive husband.
 My self esteem was on the floor, I was taking anti-depressants and had come to believe his words that no one else would want me and I would never amount to anything.  During my marriage, poetry became my outlet for the trauma I was living through and I was able to pour my heart and soul into my writing – it was this, I believe that ensured I survived and finally summoned up the strength to get out.
 My escape was also ‘chronicled’ through poetry and then, two years later, when I felt brave enough to date again, it was a relief to write more light hearted and happier poems!”

Cover Northern Lights

Harry Gallagher grew up in Teesside in the 1970s and worked alongside the last generation who spent their lives "fighting iron". Men bound by a common purpose and by the communities they lived in; where wives were mostly stay at home, raising the family; and whose children could expect to follow a similar path. Harry didn't. He wrote poetry, but was too ashamed to admit it, so joined bands instead, writing lyrics. When he grew too ancient to harbour dreams of pop stardom he returned to his first love, poetry, and has since been published all over the place.  He is a shameless performer and may even come and read for you should you ask him nicely.
Northern Lights is a celebration of this world, sculpted by industry and polished with grit now abandoned to archaeologists. Discover anew this tight close knit community as they were then and how they are now and of what they are truly capable of being.

"There are gems herein, where it was gratifying to encounter those who 'hammered shape into giants' (Ghost River) and she waltzing lovely on the surf' (St. Mary of the lighthouse.)"  ~John Hegley
"Harry's poems are full of the natural rhythm of his accent, the invention of his dry northern wit and the conviction of his own truth, not afraid to stand its ground."  ~Henry Normal, Poet, Comedy Writer & TV Producer
"The spiritual and humanitarian successor to Adrian Mitchell."   ~Neil Fulwood, poet and publisher
"Harry Gallagher is a poet whose work will leave you breathless. Stunningly beautiful one second, brutal the next." ~Robert Francis, poet & host of Permission to Speak, Stourbridge

Cover Nothing Is Meant to be Broken

Mark Connors debut collection opens up all of his landscapes - personal, political, geographical - and invites us in. From Leeds to Mull and Donegal via the highways of Arizona and beyond, these poems radiate a warmth - and an easy, quiet skill - which always holds the reader close.
These poems come dancing at you with a light step, but sock a knuckle-duster punch. Wired, but taut as the best jokes well-told, the poems shunt time and emotions around in unpredictable configurations. Connors keeps coming on.
Loss, marathon running, murder, birds and Brexit, Mark approaches all his subjects with honesty, humour, and deep respect, until it seems he can find meaning – or a redemptive beauty – in anything. The result is a collection which resonates and lingers
Mark Connors' poems trace an enjoyable, sharp, often lyrical path through Irish paternal roots, growing up in seventies Leeds, step fatherhood and the things that suffer the breaks along the way in a life - hearts, crockery, snooker…There's humour and nostalgia among the everyday dread and death and dreams of America. There are puffins  with hair like Ray Reardon's and a soaring that sets in every time birds come up, as they often do. Any time despair threatens: 'Even Gods can't change the past/so what chance do I have?' then words carry hopes on wings to repair another day because as Connors so brilliantly shows us: 'Sometimes poems like toWaterstones follow/their own paths, don't they?

Cover Heading for the Hills

Heading for the Hills

The result of the remarkable collaboration between Gillian and Peter Byrom-Smith.  The collection is not a onetime event but has developed organically over a number of years, sometimes providing serendipitous service for Peter’s songs and others have been written to meet the needs of commissioned work.

Gillian’s style is fittingly pastoral and dovetails seamlessly with the oeuvre of British song writing developed over the last century.  At the same time these poems are not relentlessly bucolic but grounded in the world in which we all live. Yes, there is nature, and love and yearning but there is also loss and regret, and anger, much muted, but discernible. 

This book is also a fitting companion to Peter’s beautiful and haunting songs. The collection as a whole is remarkably complementary and the eWaterstonesxperience of reading the poems while listening to the songs is a form of contentment

 

Rhinoceros Cover

Rhinoceros

Daniel Richardson writes about men and women who hold onto, or return to, one thought or desire with unusual strength and persistence. A rhinoceros stands for this sort of single mindedness. In this collection, we meet Wei Lin, a kind of Chinese Rhinoceros, and Archie Katz – a Rhinoceros in Love – among others. In a deceptively low-key style that builds in intensity (or absurdity), Richardson portrays the stubborn pachyderms who live amongst us, crashing through life’s flowers in their determined pursuit of all-encompassing goals.

‘Anyone who comes across this book is fortunate – eleven masterly short stories written in a prose which could be poetry, strong on humour, low in self-pity: about the intractabilities of the material world and the folly and pleasures of those who struggle with them. A delight.’

Waterstones Fay Weldon

 

Cover Know Thyself

Know Thyself

A collection of self-discovery: stories of humour and darkness, greed and awakening; each tale with a woman as the protagonist. These stories explore the myriad ways women perceive their lives, and how events can inspire remarkable change.

In one a woman makes a selfish choice and pays dearly; in another, a wheeler dealer shows us it’s never too early to start the game. In some stories, lives smothered by obligation are relieved due to unexpected challenges. Sci fi, horror, adventure and fantasy

These are short stories of varying length, style and subject bound together by the fact that they all explore the lives of women. From a comic rewriting of Pretty Woman, to a historic tale set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War Two, to a supernatural event on the remote English coast, there is something here to appeal to everyone. Through careful characterisation, vivid description and illuminating dialogueWaterstones, Know Thyself tasks itself with the formidable feat of exploring womanhood, in all its incarnations

Read these stories and find out: do you know thyself?

Cover The Beggars of York

The Beggars of York

In June 2012 Don Walls’ son Peter died at the St. Leonards Hospice in York. Peter suffered from schizophrenia and in spite of having a home in his father’s house, he was often more comfortable living on the streets of York where he made a life for himself and developed many friendships. Thousands of residents and visitors would have walked past Peter as he made a corner for himself in a sheltered place. Don is a teacher and educator and worked with young people with learning differences. He listened and learned about Peter’s life and how he and his friends were treated both by passers-by, and more importantly, by officialdom.
In
The Beggars of York Don Walls gives personality and distinction to a group of people who live on the margins. Our politicians want to demonise them as failures in our society but in truth it is our society that has failed a group of people who no more want to be living on the streets as you or I but who are there due to circumstance and misfortune. The Beggars of York is a story of everyday people dealing with officialdom while there is yet another crisis in their lives. The only difference here is that these folks are homeless and destitute.Waterstones
First performed as part of the York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival.

Performances of The Beggars of York are required to be licensed. See our Licensing page

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Lodestone

“With consummate mastery of language and a vast sweep of reference Hannah Stone ranges from the demotic to the theological to the technically specific. Surrounded by acutely observed animal presences, she forages for spiritual and sensual truths amongst bramble, root and blossom, and leaps gracefully from ancient figures of divinity to contemporary holiday-makers. This is a collection that continually opens up new delights.”

Amina Alyal - Associate Principal Lecturer in English Leeds Trinity University

“These poems draw you in with a subtle magnetism to lead you across wide ranging territories: familiar and alien, contemporary and antique, natural and urban, foreign and domestic; with a penetrating intensity for detail reminiscent of Elizabeth Bishop and Mary Oliver. Lodestone is a collection underpinned by the credo '...sight makes sense of shape.'Waterstones

Bob Beagie - poet, playwright and SeniorLecturer in Creative Writing at Teeside University

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A Multitude of Things

This is a collection of short plays of short plays garnered from real life: these are overheard snippets of conversation, children’s truthes, elderly wisdom, often heard out of context but at the same so gloriously in context that they represent the uniquely real lives we live in.

These plays, playlets even, touch on events in everyone’s lives even if we have only had a glancing acquaintance with the circumstances, they will all have been seminal moments. You will meet the annoying hospital visitor, the aggrieved wife, the obsessive hoarder, the abuse surviver the mysterious pensioner, bitchy office worker, broken man or the speed dating extravaganza.

Everyone has a story to tell and in the telling something of life is revealed. My life, your life, ordinary life, because sometimes the ordinary can be extraordinary.

Unsettled Accounts Cover

In Unsettled Accounts Tony Lucas demonstrates his consistently luminous and observant poetry that encompasses change and yet recognises the stillness of people and the environment in which they live.

He reminds us that we all have a span and living is a form of unfinished business; and that progress is not always progress.

Rupert Loydell of Stride Publications says:
“Tony Lucas’ poetry is made from the slow simmering of words and experience.   It is not a radical or loudmouth, attention-seeking poetry, but a carefully hewn and crafted poetry that is quietly unsettling, and sometimes devastating, in its wisdom and perception. These characters, places, these word pictures, will remain lodged in the mind of the reader long after the physical book has been put aside.  Lucas really is a poetry masterchef.”

David Grubb, Poet and Editor says:
“Tony Lucas has a way of pinning down his subject matter and then he swiftly sets about unsettling our preconceptions, showing other ways of seeingWaterstones, catching shadows and new shapes. The result is poetry that teases out, has an attractive tension, demands close attention, and keeps discovering.”

Learning to Breathe Cover

In Learning to Breathe John Gilham offers a strong sense of the past forming a springboard for reflections on our present and future. John is the master of the lyrical. After reading his poems you know you have experienced something life changing and unique.

John Gilham lives in York.  His enthusiasms include railways, London, pubs, poetry, jazz, cycling, European travel, and his grand-children. He is editor of Dream Catcher Literary Magazine.

Asked what he writes about, mostly, John Gilham replied, “Love, Death, Rage.”  In this collection he moves between the mythic and the domestic, between the pain of early abandonment and the joy of maturity, set against a background of anger at the folly of war and at the destruction of the world’s resources.  He has an acute sense of the interpenetration of history, religion, geography, the stories that landscapes tell, and the contemporary world.Waterstones

    “The enchanted sword that wins the day;
    the knife outside the take-away.”

Beauty Cover

The Problem with Beauty

Tanya Nightingale has taken her poems from Edinburgh to Rome, though she is mainly heard at events and festivals in and around Yorkshire where her quiet but erudite poems make compelling listening.

From fractured fairy tales to a Chilean mine disaster; from Edwardian folk magic to earthquakes and war zones; Tanya transports us to different dimensions. This volume gathers published and prize-winning poems and adds many more, along with short fictions that are by turns startling and hilarious. You only think you hold her debut collection: you actually clutch dozens of alternate realities, and sharp moments of clear-eyed analysis.

“Tanya Nightingale’s poems are perfectly formed, well thought out, singing diamonds that you will want to come back to, many times.  This is a uniquely honest and truthful, intelligent voice unafraid to tackle issues of everyday relationships as well as Shakespeare inspired pieces, Keats inspired words, Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas, and the Mystery Plays.  There is a lyricism here and an encapsulation of the minutiae of life that is rarely fouWaterstonesnd in today’s poetry.  You will want to slip this book in your pocket as a compass of hope to guide you on your travels.  Long may these diamonds be unbreakable.” ~ Helen Burke, Poet and Artist

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The Ordinariness of Parrots

A very diverse collection of poems threaded through with stunning images of gardens and sewing collated together in a mix of dark and playful, formal and experimental, and personal and historical poetry. These are poems which feel borderless; images seamlessly flow into each other- the rigid ice of language cracks to reveal the door closing with a kiss or the woman becoming her harp. This is a transformative, joyous collection where the everyday blends with the vibrant.
Alyal is a painter who applies brilliant observation with precise brushstrokes and a clear, questioning intelligence.  Everything is observed with a cool passion, using a full palette of colours and emotions. She stretches with ease from back yards to hidden constellations, deftly slipping through chinks in time. Leave-takings and disconnections flip to reveal startling new alliances, pin-sharp and exact.

This collection is endorsed by Char March, Andrew McMillan, James Nash and Oz Hardwick.Waterstones

 

TMITS Cover

Throwing Mother in the Skip

With deadpan humour, and at times, with great sympathy, William Thirsk-Gaskill shows us what it's like to be the young son of a much older dad; reflects on life, love, marriage; and on who we are, what we discard, and who we become as time passes. His debut collection will bring a smile as well as a tear.

"Many of the poems in Throwing Mother In The Skip deal with what’s left when things have gone, been taken or thrown away. There’s little abstraction here and the relics that pepper the texts are relics of the everyday, icons of domestic life – hand-held dictating machines, odd shoes and socks, colanders, chipped Habitat plates, board games, bent cutlery, mulched towels, an unused laminator. The poems are sturdy, concise and focussed, often delivered in an unwavering matter-of-fact tone, but between the precisely placed words you get this little anarchic mess, this subtle fizz of tension, like a plug with faulty wiring crackling dangerously in the power socket and it’s this subtle fizz that fuels Thirsk-Gaskill’s debut collection." - Gaia Holmes, Poet and lecturer

 

Satires Cover

Satires

Andy Humphrey's Satires takes a wry look at the politics of life, love and loss in austerity Britain. A pantomine rat sets out his election manifesto, the ghost of John Betjeman advises the estate agents of Milton Keynes, and a parade of frustrated poets confront the Big Society head-on with dreams of a better tomorrow.

 

Satires is currently out of print.

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes I Fly is a perceptive view of a man viewing the world through a distorted lens. On the one hand limited by what he can do and where he can go, but on the other, freed to see things as they are, not as we would like them to be.

The remarkable thing, reading these poems, is how easy it is to be there with Tim, experiencing what he is seeing, emphasising with his feelings, and knowing that he is right even though our experience and perceptions are different. These poems will change the reader, broaden their understanding and inspire.

Tim Goldthorpe’s poems are well structured and insightful. He writes with courage and is not afraid to approach subjects that need to be brought out into the open. In his more quirky moments, there is a deftness and lightness of touch. His words could be song lyrics; he writes of anguish but a universe that is ultimately harmonious. Reading Tim’s poems is like looking at starsWaterstones through a kaleidoscope

 

 

Somewhere Else

Somewhere Else is Don Walls 6th book of poetry all of which continue to be in demand. Somewhere Else is a “search for affinities drawing the poet beyond the ‘swirl of grief’ brought about by the death of his beloved son, to a Somewhere Else in which ‘an affinity ineffable’ bridges the divides of time, place, gender, species, even matter itself. However, these poems are not only animated by visions of sympathy - conciliatory, consolatory - they also burn with rage at those who deny affinity; for the ‘abstractions’ used by statesmen to obscure the ‘personal crime’ of war; even the poet’s own retreat from sympathy under the relentless barrage of another’s troubles.

They are alive not only with sorrow and ferocity, but with warmth and whimsy; alienation and connection. As the poet investigates sites of affinity, great and small-from wolves to robins, ice caps to pools, Termossos to Clifton Ings - he also explores a medley of poetic voices: from blunt truth-teller to anxious self-questioner; disorientated wanderer in the landscapes of memory; to capering wit, piloting a flying dog and beckoning the reader away from cares.”  
Dr Michael Shallcross, Durham University

Don Walls is "That deep voice, wise and witty, urbane and erudite, willing to shock yet evoking the laughter that comes from recognised truth.Waterstones"
John Gilham, Contributions Editor, Dream Catcher Magazine.

The Author’s proceeds are donated to the St Leonard’s Hospice.

Skidive Front Cover

Skydive reminds us that life is about change and coping with change, learning and forgetting as we grow from childhood and mature into old age. In these stories, young people discover that the neat world of childhood is peppered with unexpected truths and betrayals; older people rediscover their youth. The book begins with an experience unique to older Britons, many of whom underwent a Spell in the Army, in this case encountering an unexpected snake in the grass. We enjoy Chantalle’s growing up moment during Sarah’s Wedding. Throughout the book we experience the empathy of parallel actions, the joy of coincidence and we are reminded in Andrew’s Cats that life is surreal and in spite of TS Eliot there really is something odd about our obsession with cats.

Andrew has seen it all, written it down, and presents it here in this witty and thoroughly enjoyable collection.

“Andrew was a student of mine in York many years ago – he stood out then as someone with exceptional talent.”
~ Pat BorthwickWaterstones

Taking the Long Way Home Front Cover reduced

Taking the Long Way Home is the work of a poet who has led the nomadic life familiar to anyone with parents in the military. Friends become precious and their loss is keenly felt. With an electrical malfunction in his brain, Steve's own life becomes equally precious and must be lived to its full potential. These poems provide us with a window into a uniquely thrilling world.

The book is illustrated with razor sharp perception by Malin Bergström who has the privilege of being one of those treasured friends.

Steve's poems have been widely published, deservedly so. In these pages favourites and fresh new pieces are brought together into a single spine-chilling first collection.

Reviews:
One and Other, June 2013: “Taking the Long Way Home is the work of a rare artist with a fire in his head, but it is also an important addition to poetry in the English language. It is cutting edge without being pompous, it is technically brilliant whilst remaining accessible, it’s intelligent without being pretentious. In short it is one of the finest first collections I’ve ever encountered and it deserves your time and attention.” - Roger CarsleyWaterstones

Soundsphere: “after reading Steve’s collection of poetry those who disliked, hated or felt general apathy towards poetry will be transformed and converted.” - Olivia Widdup

suburbia front cover

Scenes from the Seedy Underbelly of Suburbia

American poet, Jackie Simmons has lived a suburban life in Connecticut, USA; she has seen many of the things that most of us want kept firmly under the family carpet or securely locked in gran’pa’s woodshed. This collection is not for the fainthearted but nevertheless should be read by everybody before, not after, they run off the rails.

This book demands that you sit up and take notice because this could well be you, your children, your neighbour or the sweet family that lives up the road at number 32.

Scenes from the Seedy Underbelly of Suburbia is a book of sweet ascerbic poems, maybe shocking, but then most of us are past shocking, which remind us that the route to the picket fence, American dreams always seem to feature that white picket fence, or the privet hedge, passes many interesting side routes complete with rusting cars, peeling paint, and a toxic chemical plant.

Share Jackie’s journey from New York City to Fairfield Connecticut and take a look down one of those cute picturesque byways.

Late Flowering Front Cover

Late Flowering

This is an incredibly dramatic collection of poems and drawings by lecturer and artist Michael Hildred, who grew up in Selby during the war, sang in the Abbey choir, experienced first hand the Selby Floods of 1947. Michael taught art in Sheffield for many years before retiring to East Yorkshire where he continues to paint but also began to write poetry. Michael is a popular poet and loved all around East Yorkshire, York and Leeds.

Michael describes in a very lyrical style the events of his childhood, especially the year 1947, which is also enhanced by contemporary photographs; his middle years observing the world around him; and finally his Late Flowering, a time when his inner vision has a sharper edge: where  he also sees the implications of the world around him.

Late Flowering is a larger format book which gives both the poems and drawings breathing room on the page.

Chickenbus Front Cover

Gringo on the Chickenbus

Tim Ellis and his partner Robbie Burns transport you to the magic of South America with Tim’s energetic poetry and Robbie’s glorious illustrations. This volume is the poetic record of their adventures and some of their experiences with the exotic, both animate and inanimate.

Tim has already won a number of performance prizes with these poems which were also the basis of a show at the Ilkley Poetry Festival.

In these poems you see two cultures eying one another in equal parts of wonder, suspicion and delight; the beautiful scenery; the amazing wildlife; and the grueling difficulties of being a stranger in a paradise that still requires passports, papers, pesos and patience.

Tim and Robbie love the outdoors and are avid bird-watchers, so much so that they travel the world in pursuit of, maybe adventure, but certainly exotic species. This book is an experience that must not be missed.Waterstones

Gringo was named as one of the Top 20 Best Individual Collections of 2011 by the Purple Patch.

Fosdyke Front Cover

Fosdyke and Me and Other Poems is published jointly by Stairwell Books and Fighting Cock Press. Both presses have ties to York and North Yorkshire and John has been a popular feature of Open Mics and literary events in the area.

The Fosdyke stories have a wry humour and ring true to every reader who was young in the 50s and 60s. Those same readers were taught by teachers who had fought in the war, many of whom were injured physically and mentally by their experiences.

After entertaining us with Fosdyke, John takes time out to remind us that no one, in a time of war, is innocent, neither combatants nor those who stayed at home


Fighting Cock Press

Fighting Cock Press.

Butterflies Front Cover

Running with Butterflies

John Walford has lived a full and varied life, but unlike most of us, he has remembered many of those wry moments that tell so much about ourselves and those around us. John’s stories, honestly autobiographical, record the vicissitudes of life from his primary school days working and playing cricket with his world famous manufacturing employer, to his experiences as a conductor on the railways. And yes, John is a runner.

After a life full of snowballs, footballs, and cricket balls John now spends his life on the balls of his feet; whether running or standing in a swaying train, he has time to observe and reflect. He reflects on opportunities gained and opportunities lost: here, each story is a sketch , a cartoon in the original sense of the word.

This book, with illustrations by Jan Williams and Paul Bowden is a Waterstonesmust have for anyone who lives in Hull, Yorkshire or even, darn it, anywhere in the Great Britain.

Her House Cover

This cover, designed by the artist Wendell Minor graces the front of this book by Donna Marie Merritt. Wendell’s art has been featured on the covers of books by Pat Conroy, Barbara Delinsky, David McCullough, Nora Roberts, Jodi Picault and many more.

“Here we have an eye open to the world, that poem by poem brings that world into view for all to see, and to be nurtured by.”
       David Kherdian: Poet, Novelist, Memoirist; Author of Gatherings:
        Selected and Uncollected Writings
(Tavnon Books, 2011)

“I get a marvellous sense of Merritt - I feel as if I know her.”
        Della Collins Cook.

“Donna Marie Merritt’s new collection begs to be read aloud - these poems are not just treats for the mind and heart, but for the tongue as well. There is an energetic tumbling of rhythm and rhyme, playful observations of nature, moments of deep comfort and passion, and the ongoing loving struggle of capturing feelings with words. Her House is filled with delicious Waterstonesmorsels for the poetic palate.”
      
Dave Morrison: Poet; Author of eight poetry collections, including Fail (2012)