My poetry often focuses on simultaneously tragic and ludicrous set-ups, allowing for a good deal of mucking about with form and contrast. So when I collage quotes from Yosemite Sam, Iím really interested in bluster and the desperate person behind it. When I imagine Bluebeard flicking through his photo album, it becomes an exercise in summing up his idle feelings for each dead spouse, using a strict two-stress-per-line structure. Whether a piece zones in on a man wandering comically through a rich friendís house, failing to find the party heís here for, or the Amiga game Lemmings rewritten as an epic escape narrative, I like to explore insecurity through unusual portals.



Never Never Never Come Back
Salt Publishing, 2012
£12.99, 80pp

Listen to the audiobook

"Donít go over the hill, or look too long into the well, or go carousing with strangers, or youíll never never never never come back. With the haunting quality of nursery rhymes but the complexity of a dark and smoky wine, these poems brood on absence and abandonment, outcasts and anomalies, monstrosity and mistakes.

At the heart of the collection are a suite of tightly focused, often impressionistic character studies ranging from cannibals to schoolgirls, but Irving also finds space in the shadows for desperate love songs to pilots and robots, satiric odes to tyrants and deft engagements with popular and literary culture. Whether turning the features of a pinball table into an emotional debris field or recounting unnerving sexual encounters, these are rich and rangy poems of a defiantly unusual character that linger in the mind as much for their controlled dissonances as their uncompromising subject matter."


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Never Never Never Come Back is an entirely idiosyncratic first collection, marrying portraits of gawky, unruly outcasts with forms that are both wonky and beautifully controlled.

Matt Haigh

Lean, needle-sharp, questing, intelligent and tuned to human vulnerability. She can strip sexual longing down to its exposed nerves.

D.A. Prince, Sphinx

What to Do
Happenstance, 2011
£4.00, 32pp


"This pamphlet is full of characters in trouble. The energy that drives the poems won't settle for resolution, only the sense that however bizarre the action or injury, it has you by the throat and isn't letting go. This is, as they say, something else."
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The force behind these poems is inescapable. Irving takes the familiar and introduces a rogue transformative element. These poems look you in the eye and wonít look away before you do.

Chris Emslie, Sabotage Reviews

Dr Fulminare's Bard Games
(w. Jon Stone), sold with Fuselit: Tilt

A micro-collection of co-authored poems written according to the rules of various tabletop games, including dominoes, battleships and jenga.
Now unavailable

No, Robot, No! (w. Jon Stone)
Forest Publications, 2010
£2.00, 36pp

Co-written with Jon Stone under the pseudonyms of Eve Bishop and Roy Marvin (can you get all four references?), this is a mixture of collaborative and individual pieces that study the speculative phenomenon of the sentient robot, playing with Asimov's rules, as well as notions of function and failure, memory and maintenance.

Collaborative writing at its best: fruitful, fresh, with both Stone and Irving's writing benefiting from the alliance.

Sabotage Reviews

Such heroic nonsense.

Megatron

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Where Rockets Burn Through: contemporary science fiction poems from the UK
edited by Russell Jones
Penned in the Margins, 2012

Blasting into the future, across alien worlds and distant galaxies, fantastic technologies and potential threats to humanity, Where Rockets Burn Through brings science fiction and poetry together in one explosive, genre-busting collection.
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Binders Full of Women
edited by Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer
Handmade binder, strictly limited edition, 2012

In response to statements made by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sarah Crew and Sophie Mayer present beautiful binders full of outspoken poems by writers who identify as female, trans, intersex or gender-neutral.
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Catechism: poems in support of Pussy Riot
edited by Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer
English PEN (hard copy via Lulu), 2012

Catechism: Poems For Pussy Riot is a communion of the visual and lyrical; rhymed, satirical and experimental poetry in tribute to political prisoners of conscience, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
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Deep River Apartments
edited by Ivy Alvarez
The Private Press, 2012

Following A Slice of Cherry Pie and We Don't Stop Here, tributes to Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive respectively, The Private Press release their poetic homage to David Lynch's sinister Blue Velvet.
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Adventures in Form
edited by Tom Chivers
penned in the margins, 2012

Welcome to a strange new world in which a poem can be written using only one vowel, processed through computer code, collaged from film trailers, compiled from Facebook status updates, hidden inside a Sudoku puzzle, and even painted on sheep to demonstrate Quantum Theory ...
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Herbarium
edited by James Wilkes
Capsule Press, 2011

Sadly sold out, Herbarium was a hand-bound collection of new poetry inspired by the herbs grown in London's Urban Physic Garden.
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City State: New London Poetry
edited by Tom Chivers
penned in the margins, 2009

City State showcases the work of twenty-seven London writers between the ages of 16 and 36. From hyperlinked walks of Battersea bombsites and guerilla gardening projects to jagged urban lyrics and dark hymns to the East End, City State presents a confident, entertaining and truly diverse snapshot of the best new poetry from London.
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Birdbook: Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland (editor/contributor), April 2011
£5.00, 158pp

Korsakoff's Paper Chain (editor), November 2010
£5.00, 76pp

Pocket Spellbook (editor), October 2010
£5.00, 46pp

Obakarama (editor), December 2009
£5.00, 40pp

Coin Opera (editor/contributor), December 2009
£5.00, 48pp

...

Five poems @ Peony Moon
'Three Portraits' @ Body Literature
Three poems @ Stimulus/Respond (Omen issue)
Two poems @ Days of Roses
Three poems @ Peony Moon
'Hypoversion' @ Londonist
'Debtors' @ Mercy Online (12 Angry Zines #7)
'The Sad Girl Waiting at the Mouth of the Pit' @ Hand + Star
'On dressing up as Dracula to come out to your parents' @ Hand + Star
'Black Diamond Heavies' @ Pomegranate
Two poems @ Soundzine
'I Sold Your Fingers' @ Toad In Mud
'Lacrimophilia' @ ABCTales Magazine
Three poems @ Argotist Online
'By A Narrow Red Ribbon' @ Farafina Online (link down)

Two poems in Herbarium (Capsule Press, 2011)
'Laura' in Clinic II (Clinic, 2011)
'To a Crashed Pilot' in Rising, April 2011
'No Matter' in Stop Sharpening Your Knives 4 (Eggbox Publishing, 2011)
'Sweet Death 500' in Polarity 1, June 2010
Two poems in Dwang 1 (Tangerine Press, 2009)
Four poems in City State: New London Poetry (Penned in the Margins, 2009)
'Quim is a Nice Word' in Stop Sharpening Your Knives 3 (Eggbox Publishing, 2009)
'What's Up?' in Rising 49, February 2009
Two poems in Shakespeare's Monkey Revue, October 2008
'Three reasons to love Teedie Roosevelt' in Rising 47, September 2008
Three poems in Mimesis 2, August 2007
Two poems from 'Covering Tracks' in The New Writer 81, March/April 2007
'Water Snail's Pinwheel Minute' in 101 Poets for the Cornish Assembly (Boho Press, 2006)
'Preservativ' in Magma 33, Winter 2005

'Excavation' in Mercy Liverpool Biennial Audio Guide, October 2010

'Wryneck' in Birdbook I: Towns, Parks, Gardens and Woodland, April 2011
'Ittan-momen' in Obakarama, December 2009
'The chimera's ice cream gives in and melts ...' in Chimerium, sold with Fuselit: Aquarium, Winter 2008
'The man in the fez with the Britney mic' (short prose) in Fuselit: Nude, July 2007
'In this album' in Fuselit: Proof, April 2007
'I am writing' in Fuselit: Battery, January 2007
'Basking Shark' in Fuselit: Adore, November 2006
'Yoink' (short prose) in Fuselit: Snarl, May 2006
'Laying Across Qwerty' in Fuselit: Rogue, March 2006
'For Example' in Fuselit: Straddle, December 2005
'If At First' in Fuselit: Demo, October 2005