Posted on

LEON PRIESTNALL ON CASEY BAILEY

Your friends and peers are you worst critics - right?

Well, yes – they can be. Especially when they are also a poet! So imagine how Casey Bailey felt when he read the below from his friend and sometime mentor, Leon Preistnall, the day after Leon read Casey’s Verve Poetry Press collection Adjusted.

‘I absolutely love Adjusted. I like it even better than his short collection, Waiting at Bloomsbury Park, and I REALLY liked that. I was with the entire collection throughout (and that opening poem is INSANE – I read that as I was sitting with friends in a restaurant after the launch and knew I had to read the rest right through).

The poems in this book have a rawness but also a sense of craft, delivered with subtle wordplay but without being pretentious.  They are vulnerable and self aware but without trying too hard, conscious without being preachy. And whatever form the individual poem takes, all are written with a clarity that, in my opinion, always exists with the very best writers who have something truthful to say about human nature.

I really, really rate this collection. Very much. And wouldn’t be suprised if it turns out to be the best collection put out this year. It’s fantastic and Casey should be incredibly proud.’

Adjusted by Casey Bailey

Leon knows what he’s talking about. As programmer and host of Howl, he’s seen it all and has an instinct for sniffing out the best spoken word poetry around. If Leon had written this about anything I’d done (he hasn’t, although he’s pretty complementary about Verve Poetry Festival) I’d have been OVER THE MOON!!!

It was great for me to read what Leon said, because Casey’s was the book that started it all – the first collection I had in my hand, the first one – along with Amerah Saleh’s I Am Not From Here – to feature guest poets in the back and at the launch. It is a book with so much heart and soul that it knocks you skidding sideways, and

you wonder how poems that contain so much can be so beautifully controlled. It is a book that, in my opinion, you NEED to read.

We’ve been talking a lot recently about books that we’ve got coming up at Verve Poetry Press. We have a storming Autumn coming down the line, with super names who we’re bowled over want to work with us – Luke Kennard, Matt Abbott, Jenna Clake, POLARBEAR!  But at the heart of what we do are our debut collections from local poets with things to say and colourful ways of saying them. These are the books that matter. Bennett’s Hill Blues by Leon Priestnall matters – Leon is a glorious poet as well as programmer and host. AND Adjusted by Casey Bailey matters. Take a look. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

 

 ‘I can’t recommend Adjusted enough! Stunning, honest, achingly gorgeous   work.’  –  Bobby Parker

 ‘Adjusted is a brave, full-bodied, sweet textured first collection.’ – Roy McFarlane