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Unruled Journal

by Anne Ryland

Poetry of spirit, humour and humanity.

‘There is a fierce and unpredictable momentum to Unruled Journal that sweeps you along, marvelling at Anne Ryland’s inventiveness, range and linguistic panache.  Her voice is generous and idiosyncratic, often mischievously so. There are also deeply affecting poems (including excellent versions of German and Polish originals) haunted by history, particularly 20th century Europe’s tragic inheritance. Gloriously, at the end of the collection, a newfound love of running offers release and redemption, captured in poems of such exuberance and transformative energy you feel you are also running through the border.’ Linda France

‘This is a richly integrated new collection from Anne Ryland, full of subtle inter-weavings. I’m particularly struck by how the themes echo each other in an unforced way throughout; those of home, of borders, of identity, of personal and wider history, and also the theme of language itself and the boundaries it can break. The poems are unusually varied in tone, moving with ease through the earthy, the poignant, the humorous and the unsettling. Unruled Journal is deeply rewarding, far-reaching and humane.’ Moniza Alvi

Anne Ryland’s third collection begins and ends with the human body, honouring its traumas and miracles. Meditations on spirituality and mortality are suffused with a gentle humour. There is continued searching for a homeland, for unknown homes that evoke longing, and for the vitality to be discovered in ruins. Versions of haunting poems about exile and displacement by the German poet Hilde Domin are woven into the book. Unsung heroes and heroines step forward, opening doors to vividly imagined worlds. This is a collection of quiet tragedies and unashamedly small joys.


Anne Ryland’s first collection of poetry, Autumnologist (Arrowhead Press, 2006), was shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and her second, The Unmothering Class (Arrowhead Press, 2011), was a New Writing North Read Regional title. Her poems are widely published in journals and anthologies. A third collection, Unruled Journal, was published by Valley Press in October 2021.

Anne grew up in Essex, and spent her student years in Bristol, Leeds and Bonn. Following her marriage she lived in London, then moved North with her husband over twenty years ago. She works as a freelance creative writing tutor in a range of community settings in her hometown, Berwick-upon-Tweed, and across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. She is an unhurried member of Tweed Striders running club.


Edition: First

Date Published: 2021-10-01

ISBN: 9781912436620

Catalogue Number: VP0183

Number of Pages: 80

Cover illustration: Crystal Waters, Island of Luing, Scotland by Gill Knight
Cover design: Peter Barnfather
Commissioning editor: Jamie McGarry

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