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by Jo Brandon

‘There may be quiet years / but this is not one of them’

Click here to read a poem from the collection (with our publisher's introduction), and here for a video of the author performing these poems (with an interview).

From a sapient pig to human extinction, syphilis to broken bones, a woman who births rabbits to changelings in the crib, this collection explores the full range of human fallibility as well as the eternal quest for hopefulness.

Cures is filled with strange characters: volcanic women, a rat catcher on the brink of retirement, a bonesetter, a drunkard, a mermaid; the collection is brimful with both the uncanny and the familiar, exploring the joys of parenthood, the folly of dissipation and reflecting on lives lived – mixing words in search of a tonic.

From the author: "I think we are all driven by the quest for cures, things to make us feel better, stronger, younger and happier; I also think we can all be a little misguided sometimes in our search. This collection contrasts human folly with positive and meaningful elements like family, feeding a curious mind and expressing our creativity. The collection combines the personal with the universal, the historical with the present and asks you to explore the strange and the familiar in equal measure.

On a personal note there are poems about my journey as a new parent and transitional aspects of my own life. I have a love of history and am passionate about rediscovering forgotten voices, particularly women’s voices. I wrote a collection stuffed with all the characters and stories that interest me and that I hope will be of interest to others."

Praise for Cures:

"There are poems here of gorgeous imaginings where Jo Brandon shakes out the clothes of historical characters and wears them with conviction and poetic truth; there are also poems of personal experience where she charts what is important and what will be remembered.  A brilliant and heart-shaking collection from a poet who just gets better and better." — James Nash

"Jo Brandon creates more evocative and delicious worlds in her wonderful second collection. These are poems of the mind and of the body, gloriously fusing wisdom and craft. In her poem 'How To Be a Hermit' she says 'Your mind should be/as filled with curios and keepsakes/as a Victorian drawing room', and it feels like this collection is itself that drawing room, filled with character sketches, ventriloquistic feats and slices of real and surreal life. It is rich and clever and filled me up. I had to stop halfway reading it to send one poem to somebody because it summed up my year ('We Are Volcanoes'), wanted another to be a historical novel I could read immediately ('Bonesetter') and fought the urge to make one of many quotable lines my Facebook status or a poster; 'You smile while you talk so it can’t be knowledge'. Women and times and places come to life in these pages of down to earth lyricism, in a way that both shows their wounds and heals them – and us. Cures indeed." — Kate Fox


Jo Brandon was born in Essex in 1986 and is now based in West Yorkshire. Her working life has been varied, including roles as a domestic for the Royal Household, a tour guide, Creative Writing Coordinator for the Koestler Trust and an administrator for the Poetry Society and Poetry School.

Jo graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Bretton Hall, University of Leeds in 2007. She now works as a freelance poetry editor, librettist and literary events host. In 2018 she was Bradford Literature Festival’s first Digital Poet in Residence. Her poetry is widely published in magazines and anthologies including The North, Poetry Review, Butcher’s Dog, Magma, Popshot and Brittle Star.

Jo’s debut pamphlet of poetry, Phobia, was published by Valley Press in 2012. Her first full-length collection, The Learned Goose, followed in 2015, and a second, Cures, in January 2021.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2021-01-21

ISBN: 9781912436552

Catalogue Number: VP0176

Number of Pages: 88

Cover design by Peter Barnfather

Cover illustration by Roberto Castillo

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