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by Peter Spafford

'Be tender with time. Stroke the skin of every minute.'

Quick is the first collection of poems by Peter Spafford, a professional writer for more than twenty years, appearing in print here for the first time.

By day, Spafford writes scripts for theatre, radio, musical theatre and opera. His poems are, out of necessity, creatures of the night; all the pieces in this collection dodged the searchlights and crept under the wire in the last five years. Exhibiting a bold playfulness with language and a stunning lightness of touch, these poems explore topics as diverse as the Yorkshire landscape, the joys and despairs of parenthood, and the surreal escapades of a horse in Tesco. They are rich, funny, and often breathtakingly poignant. A virtuoso performance in three parts, the lyrical musicality of Quick is played out in delicate changes of tempo that reflect the swell and ebb of human experience.

‘Spafford is telling us beguiling, moving, often funny stories, and we should listen.’
— Andrew McMillan

‘A collection worth buying and reading. The poems are brief but not slight, quirky without self-consciousness, private without being obscure. In particular, those about fatherhood surprised and moved me: I’ve read nothing like them.’
— M.R. Peacocke

‘Peter Spafford's poetry is startlingly humane yet equally mordant, transforming observation into eulogy and hymn for the commonplace. So exact in language and laced with intrigue, the reader has no choice but to become part of his world of imperfections and personal myth.’
— Matthew Hedley Stoppard

‘These poems demand to be read aloud as well as in solitude. They are wise, funny at times, moving, and always accessible. They get to the heart of the matter: Life! If Billy Collins and Nick Hornby met in a bar, they would drink to this fine collection and would probably be slightly envious too.’
— Ralph Dartford

‘Peter Spafford's poems show us the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice versa; with pathos with humour, with humanity, that shimmers from every line he writes.’
— Mark Connors


Peter Spafford was born in 1956, and lived in London, Manchester and Hull before settling in his current home, Leeds. His plays (musical and otherwise) have been performed throughout the country, and have occasionally graced the airwaves of Radio 4. He is a founder member of the band Schwa, is currently Director of Spoken Word at East Leeds FM, and does a variety of writing work in prisons, schools, museums, and hospitals. He was longlisted in the 2015 National Poetry Competition.

His first collection, Quick, was published by Valley Press in May 2016.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-05-12

ISBN: 9781908853660

Catalogue Number: VP0083

Number of Pages: 60

Cover photograph by Lizzie Coombes

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

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