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Oz Hardwick

Oz Hardwick was born in Plymouth, 1960, and now lives in York. He is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently The Ringmaster's Apprentice (2014), and The House of Ghosts and Mirrors (2017). Also in 2017, Oz co-edited The Valley Press Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry with Miles Salter. He is a Professor of Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University, and an accomplished photographer and musician.


The House of Ghosts and Mirrors

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Time behaves differently in The House of Ghosts and Mirrors. Generations pass each other – and themselves – in rooms that appear empty; adults occupy their childhood dreams and nightmares; stories enact themselves in portraits and postcards.

Marbled with menace and mischief, with a humour as black as the cupboard under the stairs, these hard-won poems coalesce into a moving, unforgettable meditation on the passage of time; searching for certainties, and truths that are so much more than the sum of questionable facts.


'Oz Hardwick's latest collection begins with an ending and keeps on subtly subverting our expectations on every page – glass houses, mermaids, a bloodshot moon, vampires on the staircase, the 'indescribable' breath of leaves. These are unsettling, memorable, subterranean poems that walk the line between dreams and waking.'   Helen Mort

'These rigorously-considered, sturdily-constructed, lyrically-written poems contain sharp personal and social insights. They display a romantic maturity which resonates long after the book has been set aside.'   Michael Moorcock

'These are poems that deal with the magical and mystical while firmly rooted in the detail of memory and history. Here are acutely drawn pictures of the ways we all manage, or fail to manage, our losses. Sad in the best way, tender and hopeful, these are poems in which we can all find ourselves.'   Antony Dunn

The Ringmaster's Apprentice

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Oz Hardwick's fifth collection of poetry – his first with Valley Press – begins with the poet on a ‘bland train’, staring at a fox emerging from the railside bush. The narrator declares that between himself, trapped in a mundane scene of everyday reality, and the fox, immersed in nature, mystery and myth, ‘hangs more poetry than I will ever write’.

He then sets out to write it anyway, to fill that gap; to explore the space between the familiar and domestic, the extraordinary and exotic. In bringing these seemingly irreconcilable worlds together, in a circus of language, ideas, music and images, Hardwick has created a singular literary experience that can be devoured quickly, but will stay with readers for a long time afterwards.

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