The Midlands by is the second collection by Tony Williams, following his much-acclaimed debut The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street in inimitable and lyrical style. Beginning in the Midlands themselves, with the ‘unfound grave of a Mercian king under wurzels, new housing and out-of-town Asdas’, his poems compose a tragi-comic paean to vanishing hinterlands and fine-tuned weirdness, to domestic relics, to dog walks, dust and phantoms.
Williams’ absolute delight in word play and tomfoolery belies a darker, stranger undertow between rhyme and reasoning. Strange forces are at work in the heartlands, where we find ourselves travellers in perpetual motion, stopping only to gather our disappointment at the OK Café on the A1 and wonder if our ‘boots might rise from the earth and pursue’ us.
Tony Williams is a poet and short-story writer based in North-East England. His first full collection, The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street, was published by Salt in 2009 and was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Portico Prize for Literature. He teaches creative writing at Northumbria University