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Sunshine (Paperback)
  • Sunshine (Paperback)
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Sunshine (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 90 Pages / Published: 05/09/2016
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Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2016

I made him listen to a song I loved
and he cried like he’d never cried in his life that this girl with cuts
on her skin would have liked to hold him, crawl into his
psychiatric ward bed and breathe all over his damp, white shoulders.

Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton.

A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psychiatric wards and deserted lanes of austerity Britain.

Sunshine combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humour born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton's poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, poems that stake new ground for the Romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet porn.

In this new book of poems, Melissa Lee-Houghton shines a light on human ecstasy and sadness with blinding precision.

The collection includes the poem 'i am very precious' - shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem 2016.

One of the most striking and challenging voices in contemporary poetry Melissa Lee-Houghton published her first collection of poetry, A Body Made of You in-between stints in and out of psychiatric hospital and both this and the follow-up volume Beautiful Girls draw heavily on her own experience of mental illness. One critic described her work as ‘soaked in the tension between body and mind, between who we are supposed to be and the god-awful gorgeousness of who we really are.’

Beautiful Girls is not a book for the faint-hearted: it will survive as testament to poetry's force in overcoming’ - Chris McCabe

'Sunshine reaches deep into the part of us we don’t want to look at and is all the more powerful, gut-wrenching and vital because of it.' - James Rhodes

Publisher: Penned in the Margins
ISBN: 9781908058386
Number of pages: 90


MEDIA REVIEWS

REVIEWS

I feel I need to take a deep breath before trying to describe Melissa Lee-Houghton. The poems in Sunshine, written after two and a half years in psychiatric hospitals, out-Plath Sylvia - they are harrowing, raw and so charged with pain that at the end of each poem, literary comment seems beside the point.

KATE KELLAWAY, BEST POETRY BOOKS OF 2016, THE GUARDIAN

Stunning ... Lee-Houghton's poetic world is the underside of mass culture - the black economies of porn, child abuse, prostitution and drug use, and the hidden economy of institutionalisation ... Sunshine thrills, and sickens.

AILBHE DARCY, THE POETRY REVIEW

Anthemic and surprisingly glorious.

CLAIRE TREVIEN, POETRY LONDON

Distilled and achieved ... There's a sense that you're always teetering right on the edge of something but Melissa pushes you a little bit further than most writers would. And yet the writing always feels very controlled.

HELEN MORT, FIVE BOOKS

Sunshine isn't always an easy read. It's heart-breaking, visceral, often sordid or hurtful ... But it's also a life-affirming book, open and freshly honest about the mess of being human, about female masturbation, about self-harm and cold unloved dingy rooms where women find themselves.

ANGELA TOPPING, STRIDE MAGAZINE

Brilliant, alarming, and as funny as it is sad.

HOLLY POWIS, DISCLAIMER

Simply astonishing ... it overflows with expansive, intense and troubling poems that leave a lasting impression.

ANDREW PARKES, THE POETRY SCHOOL

_

PRAISE FOR SUNSHINE

Sunshine reaches deep into the part of us we don't want to look at and is all the more powerful, gut-wrenching and vital because of it.

JAMES RHODES

A wry, unflinching and knowing voice that collects the pieces of the torn-up world and brings them together in such a way that something is assuaged.

MARK WALDRON

Sunshine is a beautiful, brutal book. [...] but also wry, funny and self-aware.

HELEN MORT

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