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Andrew McMillan

by John Maguire
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John Maguire introduces poet Andrew McMillan…

Sparse, physical, unpoetic, ordinary; four adjectives used by the poet Andrew McMillan to describe his work.

Andrew is currently lecturing in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University and has an impressive creative catalogue, including publications such as Salt Book of Younger Poets and work in The London Magazine and Under/Current to name a few.


His second pamphlet of work, The Moon is a Supporting Player, is playful and at times is like a kind of literary jazz. There is a solid structure and form with the language and imagery springing from the pages.


backslash of corrugated roof          single cheek

of light across the broad chest of city

the potholed avenue the moon has been reduced to

The work screams to be read out loud, at times the poetry is somewhat cinematic.

Tippi Hedren appears as a tree

such reading elegance      uncreased

under a stress of raven    stoic

The simplicity of the language paints pictures in the mind’s eye.

the birds

Singular lines have a richness that are like literary delicacies.

I love you with the trailing leg of

a gull heading north

McMillan is a fan of writer Thom Gunn,

The poet I love before all others is Thom Gunn, he was the first writer I think I fell in love with. Geoff Hattersley is a great poet and deserves more readers than he has.

Red Squirrel Press, based in Northumberland, have just published his new pamphlet, which is one long poem called ‘protest of the physical’; the piece was written after splitting up with a long-term partner. He is currently pulling together poems in preparation for his full first collection to be published.

The poet is keen to continue developing his craft,

I think in terms of my own stuff you always want the next thing to be the best piece; otherwise you wouldn’t carry on writing. Reading at literature festivals and things is great because, as well as flogging the books your publisher wants you to, you can read new stuff out and see how it goes down – getting that instant feedback from an audience is wonderful.

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