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Rory Waterman

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Rory Waterman was born in Belfast in 1981, grew up mainly in Lincolnshire, and lives in Nottingham. His previous full-length collections, all published by Carcanet, are: Tonight the Summer’s Over (2013), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for a Seamus Heaney Award; Sarajevo Roses (2017), which was shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize for Second Collections; and Sweet Nothings (2020). He is also a press critic, and has published several books on modern and contemporary poetry. He is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Nottingham Trent University.

    Author photo by Thomas Curtis.


    'With his carefully weighed retrospection, Waterman is the most Hardyesque of modern poets, forever sniffing out he might-have-beens beneath mere actuality. Never merely solemn, this is a wise and deeply satisfying book.'
    David Wheatley, The Guardian
    'Poets often write about grief, but rarely so well about its complexity... Moving but never sentimental'
    Graeme Richardson, The Sunday Times
    'Very few poets can bring to the lives of others the same devout attention we tend to bestow upon ourselves: Rory Waterman is just such a poet... Suppleness of poetic line matches suppleness of spirit.'
    Linda Gregson
    'I have long admired Rory Waterman's honest, often very sensitive, pitch-perfect poetry. He has the ability to capture, without appearing too knowing, that which is at the edge of the mind. The diverse poems in Come Here to This Gate are enticingly open to both life's realities and its unrealities. They include acute and moving poems on his father's dying and on parental separation and its after-effects. This is surely his most deeply resonant and versatile book.'
    Moniza Alvi
     'Rory Waterman's three collections, from Tonight the Summer's Over, through Sarajevo Roses and on to Sweet Nothings, demonstrate the progressive strengthening and broadening of his writing (a development without renunciation of previous work) alongside the absorbing of influences into a method and approach that are unique in contemporary UK poetry. His achievement has been to take two terms - belonging and estrangement - that had highly personal ramifications, and expand them into a coherent and cohesive vision, inviting his readers to ponder their own roles in their lives. This is a poet who's approaching the height of his powers.'

    Matthew Stewart, Wild Court

    'Very few poets can bring to the lives of others the same devout attention we tend to bestow upon ourselves: Rory Waterman is just such a poet. Whether their site of meditation is an abandoned colliery or a much-marketed urban vista, the exquisite lyrics of Sarajevo Roses are imbued with mindfulness. Suppleness of poetic line matches suppleness of spirit.'

    Judges, Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collection

    'Waterman's work extends out and beyond any dangerously neat equations or notions of 'home' and 'self'; with him, it is in the settings of Europe's past and future. The reader visits Iceland, Palma's Bellver Castle, Venice, Krujë, the Italian ghost-town Craco, St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and in all the travellings we become more and more aware of the precarious fragility of human 'settlements' in all senses.'

    Peter Carpenter, Under The Radar

    'Waterman is a fine craftsman and this is a thing most needful in the collection's journeyings through 'industrial dereliction' and the painful re-calibrations of a 'post empire' experience. Re-imaginings of spaces for leisure are met by a poet who is at home with formal variations, rhyme and meter.'

    Peter Carpenter, Under the Radar
      'The collection is marked by a sense that the world is indifferent to us, both as species and individuals, that time is slippery and fast-moving...For all his often regular metrics and traditional craft, these are not conservative poems... It's a consistently 'political' book.'
    Declan Ryan, Poetry London
      'The world is a slightly better place for the existence of this book. I do not write that lightly.'
    Peter Pegnall, Ploughshares
      'Waterman is at once restrained and assured. He has a fine eye for a poem's architecture, playing with symmetry, taking pleasure in the shape of the page, and he demonstrates a remarkably good ear.'

    John Greening

       'By just picking his words with an almost scientific exactitude he makes a poem that is meditative and unforced.'
    The Irish Examiner
     
    'Rory Waterman writes poems of the kind there'll always be a need for poems that require skill to make but don't insist on it, that combine keen-eyed observation and immediately graspable shades of feeling in a memorable way. Waterman's is a very appealing voice, laconic, unillusioned and vulnerable. His world is a recognisable and convincing one, his rueful, sometimes harsh sincerity is palpable, and he deserves to be read by anyone to whom these things still matter.'
    Alan Jenkins
    Awards won by Rory Waterman Short-listed, 2014 Seamus Heaney Award (Tonight the Summer's Over) Commended, 2014 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Tonight the Summer's Over) Short-listed, 2019 The Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections
    (Sarajevo Roses)
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