Return of the Poetry Basket

Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to our much missed Poetry Basket section.

I am so excited as today we feature that wonderful and talented poet Barney Ashton-Bullock

A trememdous favourite, and one of the first live poets I ever swooned over, Barney’s latest collection Bucolicism – Poems and Fragmenta is published by Strike Force Entertainment and is red-hot and really worth a read. Look at the sizzling review below;

Bucolicism – Poems and Fragmenta by Barney Ashton-Bullock 

Subtitled Alt-lite lyric verse for a post-pastoral England, we open the vivid cover of this brand new collection from Barney Ashton-Bullock. This poet has an impressive background of publications including the vibrant café kaput!, and he remains on top with these 27 tight and significant pieces.  Stunningly designed and illustrated by Meriel Waissman, with disturbing and irresistible images inside.  

I started my journey with Loss a powerful short piece that truly jumps out at the reader.  The impact not lost with What We Were Is What We Are, provocative words that are also tender. I bathed in the nostalgic wistfulness,  and the depths of the opening stanza, particularly in the deeper depths of the darkest nights, a place we have all been.  The brutal romance in You Should Know Where My Heart is, and the intense Englishness and visual colour of Remembrance, Strawberry Mivvi and Knobbly Knees will strike a chord. These words are used to remind of us of what we have lost, what is gone forever. And our ongoing traditions of Wimbledon and Henley melt in the mouth. 

The complex haibun style of In More Censorious Summer Dorset Days…gives us such a strong imagery, and a razor sharp insight of the poet’s Dorset background. Dedicated to a lost first love?  Very ambivalent and intriguing. The alluring vernacular of Village contains an unforgettable line of Cigs, ket, stout, cide, hash, snog, blow, laid, vom, chuck.  The underlying innocence speaks volumes. One of the most irresistible pieces of this journey. 

Dorset Prayer is so achingly sad, a nostalgic tableau of former English life, blown away and snatched from under our noses. You’re In Hardy Country, 1974 is a humorous account of youth and cynicism. A clever combination.  Gran is almost painful in its lurid and stunning detail.  And speaking of pain, Calcot Hotel, Speaking?  The sense of loss for these seaside institutions, and a familiar pang of losing a grandmother. The poet puts this over without mawkishness.  We come then to the stunning Guest House, a personal favourite with extraordinarily descriptions and clever wording. Full of wonderful revelations and leading to an apt climax. 

Then our journey speeds up through England with the wistful and autobiographical words of Tetbury, the structures that unravel themselves.  The heart stirring Sezincote borders on the Jarmanesque and our once treasured past, the final line stating that they would not see Sezincote again is moving.  The prose of Shoscombe is strong and personal, and our journey takes us to a tribute to Alan Peglar, the saviour of The Flying Scotsman,  Childhood (Jump The Tracks) is graphic, dark with an underlying hopeful note. 

Autumn Again embraces us with stunning descriptions with the mourning of a lost love. Wistful but never sentimental. Upper Holloway, a very ambitious piece where the poet physically takes us to this part of North London with his pain and experience and its tender  subtext.    This Ending Life is apt for the last piece and an atmospheric fitting climax. 

Ashton-Bullock takes us to so many places in this succinct collection, and it is a journey worth taking. I’d like to go round again please. 

Bucolicism Poems and Fragmenta by Barney Ashton-Bullock is available through Cherry Red Records on

I’d really recommend treating yourself to this amazing collection.

Thanks for tuning, Poetry Lovers. I hope you enjoyed the review, we’ll be back real soon with more poetry japes …….

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