Love, sex, boats and friendship. And yet Jo Bell’s second poetry collection, Kith, is about so much more, as these bold and generous poems interweave bigger questions of place, identity and community and what these mean to us, here and now.
Delighting in the belting, beautiful turn-of-phrase, Jo Bell’s poems are lyrical and joyous, but always precise and clear as birdsong. They take us the long way home, plot histories along the route of backwaters, and are occasionally diverted for a roll in the hay; hearts are broken and boats are dry-docked. There will be tears, but there will also be love, safe harbours, and the company of wise and faithful kith.
Jo Bell - archaeologist, boat dweller and erstwhile director of National Poetry Day - is a poetry pundit and deviser of online poetry community 52. Winner in 2014 of the Charles Causley prize and Manchester Cathedral prize, and placed in the Bridport, Wigtown, and Ballymaloe international competitions, she has had a fortunate year. She is currently building new projects with the writer Tania Hershman and poet Michael Symmons Roberts. Kith is her second collection of poems.