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Richard Barnett

Richard Barnett is a writer, teacher and broadcaster on the cultural history of science and medicine. His publications in this field include The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration (Thames & Hudson, 2014).

He has taught at the universities of Cambridge and London, and in 2011 received one of the first Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowships. He received the 2006 Promis Prize for poetry, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Poetry Business Pamphlet Awards, both for earlier versions of his first collection Seahouses, which was published by Valley Press in March 2015. Richard was first published by Valley Press in 2013, with two of his poems appearing in the anthology Pocket Horizon.



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Seahouses is the first collection of poetry from cultural historian Richard Barnett. Those familiar with Barnett’s non-fiction – recently described as ‘superbly erudite and lucid’ by Will Self – will be unsurprised to discover he is also a formidable poet, with a distinctly English approach that is at once fluid, precise, cynical and tender.

Not a single word in this volume is wasted; least of all in the award-winning title sequence, where the sea sifts and rolls through the dreams of an old man asleep in a deckchair, conjuring a vision of history and our human crossings. Elsewhere, fragments of first love are glimpsed, pursued, and interrogated; fathers sit down to eat with the sons they have killed; two textbooks sing three songs of suppressed longing; bees are kept for all the wrong reasons.

This is low modernism of the highest order, cranky, eloquent and broken-hearted – a terrific addition to the UK’s poetry landscape.

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