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by Robert Powell

'Rain crowds down blue through ambulance light ... We are compellingly water.'

In Riverain, poet Robert Powell takes us on a journey through reality and metaphor, partly inspired by the two rivers that meet in his adopted home city of York: the Ouse and Foss.

Sometimes dreamlike, combining gravity and humour with the personal and the political, this diverse and deeply visual collection moves with a strong narrative flow, taking in love, mortality, family, consumerism, literature and art as it goes.

Subtly moored by its theme, this is a mature, engaging collection from a poet unafraid to chart a course through purposefully ambiguous tributaries.


Robert Powell was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and now lives in York. He has worked for many years in the fields of journalism, photography, the arts and urbanism, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

He has published three collections of poetry, Harvest of Light (Stone Flower, 2007), All (Valley Press, 2015) and Riverain (Valley Press, 2018) as well as an artist’s book and exhibition, A Small Box of River (2016) in collaboration with artist Jake Attree. He won the 2012 Elmet Prize judged by Kathleen Jamie, was commended in the 2017 National Poetry Competition, and his poems and stories have appeared in Acumen, Dream Catcher, Orbis, The North and The Rialto. In 2017, he wrote and co-produced, with Ben Pugh, The River Speaks, a short film funded by the Canal & River Trust ‘Arts on the Waterways’ programme.

A fourth collection, Lost and Found, was published by Valley Press in November 2021.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2018-04-12

ISBN: 9781912436019

Catalogue Number: VP0121

Number of Pages: 80

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

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