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Life Class

by Jo Reed

‘Wait in the quiet troughs, listen to the water, watch the horizon.’

Jo Reed’s second collection of poetry offers readers more of her trademark mix of memory, myth and magic; a window to a unique world where the unvarnished reality of OAP shopping trips (‘Finding the deepest trolleys, we fill our day’) sits alongside breathtaking flights of imagination (‘a turtle sings, fathoms deep, a boy held safe upon her back.’)

The magic of Life Class is found in the single consciousness that connects the poems; be they set in the world of 1960s Soho, on the edge of an estuary, on a Greek island, or in the hearts and minds of Jo’s inimitable female protagonists (and the men they love – or more frequently, tolerate). An invaluable chance to spend more time in the company of this much-loved poet.

“As ever, lively and engaged work.”
— Sean O’Brien

“Lots of wit, wisdom, and lyrical flourish.”
— W.N. Herbert

“[Jo Reed] evokes moments and scenes with a painterly precision, rich with sensuousness and musicality.”
— Pauline Plummer


Jo Reed was born near Durham in 1941. She spent her childhood moving up and down the East Coast, from Northumbria to Norfolk, before arriving in Soho, London in the 1960s. She later lived in rural Surrey and Lincolnshire, before settling in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, at the turn of the century.

She has worked as an illustrator, printmaker and teacher, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. Her debut collection of poetry, Stone Venus, was published by Valley Press in 2011, and was followed in 2015 by a second collection, Life Class.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2015-04-24

ISBN: 9781908853493

Catalogue Number: VP0075

Number of Pages: 52

Cover illustration by Ken Vail

Cover design by the author

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