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knowing this has changed my ending

30 August 2018


Short Royal stapled


Alex MacDonald

‘Alex MacDonald works magic with syntax and rhetoric, making poems that almost ‘speechify’ our anarchic world with a joyful, empathic, unique and completely irresistible voice.’ Kathryn Maris


‘Enigmatic and atmospheric, freewheeling and finely turned, the poems in Alex MacDonald’s brilliant debut strike a rare note in British poetry. They evoke a world full of quiet drama where endings are only possible and possibilities endless.’ Sarah Howe


‘Cinematic, sensuous and tenderly delirious, like a city talking in its sleep. In this collection modern life is experienced as a first-person video game played in noclip mode, and the poet crosses oceans and passes through the walls of bedrooms and bars to deliver crisp, melodic reports on the public and private worlds we render as we work, love, fail, play, and dream.’ May-Lan Tan

Knowing This Has Changed My Ending is an approach to and mastering of a specific domestic. The poems stand by windows, obsessed by and yet strangely insulated from the world through the glass – a world in which objects cluster together for warmth, for the friendship they need as proof against life lived in the exposed and raw places. Matters of shapeshifting and disappearance recur and reinvent themselves, often within a single poem, the reader increasingly subject to their movements. ‘Days become a series of rooms’, and the waking up inside them is variously stultifying, frightening, hopeful, enclosing and obsessive. MacDonald’s structures are electronic in their linking of source to expense, and the close wiring of this pamphlet pulses with energy and focus. These are poems of warnings ignored and passed over, of forecasting strange new weather, of the transformative power of boundaries – at the day’s cusp, in thresholds stepped over, in confessions made or unmade. ‘I want to wake up very early’, MacDonald writes, ‘to see how the day changes’. And then he does.

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