Review Extracts & Comments

I appreciate these thoughtful words on a range of my work:

‘Very much enjoying this collection’s take on professions in prose poems. Full of a sense of miracle in the ordinary. Playful and lyrical, affectionate and gently satirical. Quite unique.’

~ Ian Seed (on Professions)

‘The author adds self-referential wit to the overall mix in ‘Farmers’, with eponymous flourish – ‘/ know / Ferguson is better than Ford’ and also seems to have a particular liking for the word ‘heliotrope’. Why not, indeed? This is a splendid mini-tome which you can whip through in an hour or so and revisit on those long train or coach journeys.’

~ Steve Spence (on Professions)

‘Thank Christ for a little collection of writings that first and foremost suggests you might enjoy it, that you go at it with a light heart and, if there is a serious thing or two you might take away from it, that relationship between enjoyment and the serious might be what you perhaps most remember, and might take into your future days.’

~ Martin Stannard (on Professions)

‘In this delightful collection of prose poems, Mike Ferguson demonstrates that experimental poetry need not be a po-faced business. The banality of our discourse is remixed, reconfigured in satirical, absurd vignettes.’

~ James Knight (on The Lonesomest Sound)

‘But if there is an overriding theme to this collection, it’s the interrogation of language; subjecting it to questioning, testing, parody and – as is clear from the exuberant nature of the pieces – celebration. The poet is revelling in what language can do, how it can create its own reality by association, random connection and musical phrase.’

~ Alan Baker (on The Lonesomest Sound)

‘The method of writing these prose poems accords with a dialectical process: submitting striking words or phrases to search, the selected results provide a basis for a found truth that is moving onwards and onwards, always dividing and regrouping. Associations expand exponentially, revealing ironic humour as Ferguson casts a satirical eye on aspects of our flawed society. The poetry is patterned, evocative and eclectic.’

~ Dr Jackie Moore (on The Lonesomest Sound)

‘Each prose poem occupies less than a page and some are much shorter. If there is a more questioning nature to these pieces, and I think there is, then it’s all done with a lightness of touch which makes them such fun to read… Ferguson’s commentary on his own process (‘future / mash-ups are being mapped….’) is never intrusive and also suggests to me that the further into this way of working you delve the more you are forced to engage with the nature of the endeavour itself.’

~ Steve Spence (on The Lonesomest Sound)

‘Mike Ferguson’s book of prose poems is a layered and self-referential kind of Borgesian labyrinth of asides and references to the world of the past and present, a semi-fictional wish fulfilment of fame and fortune, skillfully undercut with self-deprecation and poetic wit.’

~ Rupert Loydell (on And I Used to Sail Barges)

‘If you love words – buy this book. If you love poetry – buy this book. If you love any musical genre post Elvis – buy this book. If you’ve ever taught English (or want to know what it means to teach with passion and dedication) – buy this book. I haven’t read a memoir as absorbing or uniquely well crafted as Mike Ferguson’s superb work for a long time.’

~ Con O’Brien (on Holding on to Me in Lockdown)

‘Anyone interested in the cultural zeitgeists of the last quarter of the 20th century and the first quarter of this one will drink this down in a single draft. Ferguson can make you laugh and break your heart, sometimes on the same page. Essential reading.’

~ Chris Wakefield (on Holding on to Me in Lockdown)

‘He pays homage to some of the ‘greats’ – Ben Jonson, Poe, Coleridge, Hughes and Larkin. My personal favourite is the final list poem, Students, which could only be written by someone who had willingly devoted a working life to helping young people learn.’

~ Martin Phillips (on Drawing on Previous Learning

‘Mike has put together a collection that celebrates and scathes, with honours and horrors put on the page in poems, prose poems and monologues. Many of these skewer the way in which the cultural capitalist model of curriculum and assessment has increasingly rewarded the labelling of devices as a substitute for real engagement with thought and feeling in literature.’

~ Peter Thomas (on Drawing on Previous Learning)

‘It is that sense of revelation and simplicity, an attention to the world – remembered, reinterpreted, deconstructed (or not) – that is most evident in this engaging, entertaining and clear-minded collection, which evidences an open-eyed, thoughtful and sure-footed writer at work. Even when standing in animal shit or recalling ‘the butt-end of a / tedium of days’.’

~ Rupert Loydell (on agri culture)

‘This is a beautifully produced little chapbook with a mix of typographically inventive concrete poetry as well as more straightforward narrative pieces which as well as providing autobiographical detail, also touch on social history.’

~ Steve Spence (on agri culture)

‘This is a fascinating fusion of found poetry, erasure poetry, and appropriation. It is a stunning weaving together of the poetic and the philosophical.’

~ Rose Knapp (on &there4)

‘In this deftly crafted and dazzlingly experimental collection, language – of logic, of poetry, of philosophy, of mathematics – is taken apart and rearranged in ways that are witty and thought-provoking, playful and profound.’

~ Marian Christie (on &there4)

‘Just in the same way that a glitch art image takes a familiar picture and changes it so that the original is both there but as distant as an unfamiliar star in another solar system, so too do these poems startle, shift meaning, and turn the known into the fantastically new and unfamiliar. It’s remarkable, wonderful, and dizzyingly inventive. I love & There 4.’

~ Mab Jones (on &there4)

‘Enjoying very much Mike Ferguson’s tender, teasing and often illuminating tributes to Samuel Coleridge in these chapbooks, all published by Gazebo Gravy Press.’

~ Ian Seed (on Ottery’s Aeolian Harp and a poet animate in anima poetæ)

‘Mike Ferguson hits the found running in the sweet spot between traditional and digital culture, offering 68 witty and creative poems he has constructed or extracted from a tentative canon of the American novel. No waiting on the muse or bullshit about inspiration: Ferguson rolls his sleeves up and fills the bowl with text, mixes it up, adds something random, then abandons the recipe and shapes his work with the mind’s own cookie cutters.’

~ Rupert Loydell (on On the Found)

‘Enjoying these aphoristic, beautifully-crafted lyrics in his latest chapbook’

~ Ian Seed (on Drinking Watermelon Whiskey)