This book was shortlisted for the 2015 Forward Prize for Best First Collection, Longlisted for the 2015 Guardian First Book Award, and, Longlisted for the 2015 Foyles Green Carnation Prize. Raw and urgent, these poems are hymns to the male body - to male friendship and male love - muscular, sometimes shocking, but always deeply moving. We are witness here to an almost religious celebration of the flesh: a flesh vital with the vulnerability of love and loss, to desire and its departure. In an extraordinary blend of McMillan's own colloquial Yorkshire rhythms with a sinewy, Metaphysical music and Thom Gunn's torque and speed - 'your kiss was deep enough to stand in' - the poems in this first collection confront what it is to be a man and interrogate the very idea of masculinity. This is poetry where every instance of human connection, from the casual encounter to the intimate relationship, becomes redeemable and revelatory. Dispensing with conventional punctuation, the poet is attentive and alert to the quality of breathing, giving the work an extraordinary sense of being vividly poised and present - drawing lines that are deft, lyrical and perfectly pitched from a world of urban dereliction.
|Publication date:||9th July 2015|
'Andrew McMillan's wide-awake debut anatomises male desire and its often thwarted expressions; these fresh and engaging poems enter the temple of longing in honest search for what may be found there, which turns out to be joy, desolation, secret languages, the possibilities of transformation and of disappointment borne in every touch.' -- Mark Doty
'Physical really announces Andrew McMillan and it feels like a long while since a first book has managed this degree of tenderness and candour, sensuality and vulnerability. There is beauty in the ordinary , and every poem in this urgent, unflinching, exceptional debut affirms this.' -- Paul Farley
'Thom Gunn, the lodestar of this collection, said that poetry comes from obsession and passion. Few first books are as passionate, as carnal, as this one. McMillan's work is a glorious, vivid exploration of the body as the loved and broken ground on which we meet and are transformed.' -- Michael Symmons Roberts
'Unforced, unbidden, these are poems that call you by your real name, poems that have seen you naked, poems that find out your secrets and gift them back. Physical is alive with subtle reflections on masculinity, love and loss; a record of how we forget ourselves and how we remember. It will captivate and change you.' -- Helen Mort
Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988; his debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2015. In 2014 he received a substantial Northern Writers' Award. He currently lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University and lives in Manchester.More About Andrew McMillan