GALL by MATT HOWARD
Matt Howard was born in Norwich in 1978 and grew up in Hethersett and Wymondham, playing out in that narrow gap between settlements and agri-business which allows imagination growing space. Two teachers, Mrs Palmer and Mrs Flowerday, woke him to poetry but he hid from it until his late twenties when, having established a career in the insurance industry, he found that the OU degree course he’d begun included a Creative Writing module: he then realised that writing poetry was all he wanted to do.
His writing career includes the UEA Advanced Diploma, which helped him to connect to the Norwich writing world; buying and reading poetry magazines and then getting published in them (first poems in The North and Interpreter’s House in 2007); being short-listed in the Poetry Business Competition; doing an MA at MMU; being one of the Aldeburgh 8 in 2014 and having a pamphlet, The Organ Box, published by Eyewear (2014). And who can resist a poet who can write ‘the frost/hoar masking the true punctuation of the fixed stars.’ ?
Matt’s day job is in Nature Conservation, he is a Regional Fundraiser for the RSPB. He’s also a member of the New Networks for Nature Steering Group, working alongside Tim Birkhead, Jeremy Mynott, John Fanshawe, Ruth Padel, Katrina Porteous and others. (www.newnetworksfornature.org.uk)
‘Matt Howard’s poetry is intense and shapely, but capable of daring imagination. He combines the intimate, careful voice of the naturalist with a lush and unusual diction. His poetic world is both empirical and uncanny, examining the ‘nature’ of the inner body as well as the wild. This is a wunderkammer of a book, a fully realised first collection.’
‘In this first full collection Matt Howard summons a rich stock of human character, modern and historical: lovers and surgeons, fishermen and kings, soldiers and photographers. To these he adds an alternative world of other species – solitary wasps, snakes, shrews, oaks, apes, owls, flies, flowers and birds. Yet for all the dazzling invention in Gall there emerges the singular clarity of its narrative voice that is at once urbane, witty, deeply contemporary and profound.’
Perfect bound book, 68pp plus cover.