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Lines Off Reviews

Lines Off by Hugo Williams (poetry ed Spectator)

Lines Off

Hugo Williams (poetry ed Spectator)

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Poetry, Non-fiction
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 6 Jun 2019
ISBN: 9780571349753

'Lines off' is a term used for lines spoken from the wings of a theatre, or off-camera in a film. Autobiographical, psychological, remedial, Lines Off heralds the return of this acclaimed poet, back to the stage of the page, offering us 'the performance of a lifetime'.

4 stars out of 5
Kate Kellaway
9 Jul 2019

"Inspired by a spell in hospital, Hugo Williams confronts the body in crisis with irresistible style"

And several autobiographical pieces would serve well for that rainy day. These are beguiling poems that look back at childhood, sepia set pieces from the mind’s family album (My War, Tea-time). But they lack the urgent strangeness of the hospital poems. Williams has a gift for making poetry read as effortlessly as conversation – a huge accomplishment. And the final poem, The Half-Open Door, is so simple it barely exists, beautifully balanced between the pedestrian and profound.


4 stars out of 5
22 Jun 2019

"Haunting and hallucinatory"

[T]his highly readable volume turns terrifying experiences into verse that’s sometimes hyperreal, sometimes surreal, and often verges on hallucination. ‘Commonsense’ is transposed, with apparent artlessness, to make no sense at all... These are haunting, shining, untidy poems and, despite Williams’s habit of seeming to undercut himself with throwaway last lines, vivid with emotion and experience. Even those apparently casual endings have their own brilliance.