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Nothing is certain in these poems but no one is giving up – least of all the ghosts whose struggles in the next world run parallel with the struggles of those they left behind. If a separate appointment is required for the examination of a soul there is a strong possibility that this can be arranged.

Rebecca Farmer grew up in a large Irish family in Birmingham. She studied Drama at Manchester University and for many years worked as a secondary school teacher in London. Her husband died at the age of 42 and her focus for a long time became the care of their daughters. After she resumed her writing career her debut pamphlet Not Really won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition in 2014, and in 2017 she completed a PhD at Goldsmiths. She has been a writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library and was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

William Thompson was born in Peterborough in 1991, and grew up in and around Helpston, the birthplace of John Clare, a man referred to during his lifetime as the ‘Northamptonshire Peasant Poet’ and described by Jonathan Bate as ‘the greatest labouring-class poet England has ever produced’. Clare towered over the landscape of his youth: the prospect for Thompson, of writing about it in his shadow, was daunting. More recently, however, he has started to see a way of doing so, by telling the truth about what that landscape is like almost 200 years later.

William Thompson’s poems have appeared in Poetry Wales, Wild Court, The Honest Ulsterman, Lighthouse, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-21, and other magazines and anthologies. He is studying for a PhD at the University of Bristol. This is his debut poetry pamphlet.

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