kirsten irving
poet, editor & voiceover

Kirsten Irving is a Lincolnshire-born, London-based poet and voiceover, and one half of the team behind collaborative press Sidekick Books. Her work has been published by Salt and Happenstance, widely anthologised and thrown out of a helicopter. She has won the Live Canon International Poetry Prize, judged competitions, and taught courses on folklore in poetry. Her second full collection, Hot Cockalorum, is out now from Guillemot Press. Kirsten works in a library, writes about toys, and is planning her woodland burial.

  • New & Forthcoming
  • Single Author/Collaborative Books and Pamphlets
  • Work in Anthologies
  • Online Magazines
  • Print Magazines
  • Competitions & Awards
  • Commissions, Articles & Interviews
  • Sidekick Books Projects (as Editor)
  • Contributions to Fuselit/Sidekick Books publications
  • New & Forthcoming

    Hot Cockalorum

    (Guillemot Press, 2022)

    Hardback in recycled leather / Audiobook OUT NOW

    Hot Cockalorum cover

    RUN: a Battle Royale Memorial

    Based on the KĊshun Takami novel Battle Royale and the cult 2000 movie adaptation by Kinji Fukasaku, RUN is a series of short poetry portraits, written and voiced by Kirsten Irving and brought to life by animator Noriko Ishibe.

    Single-Author/Collaborative Books and Pamphlets

    Never Never Never Come Back (Salt Publishing, 2012 & 2018)

    What to Do
    (Happenstance, 2011)

    Dr Fulminare’s Bard Games
    (w. Jon Stone), sold with Fuselit: Tilt

    No, Robot, No! (w. Jon Stone)
    (Forest Publications, 2010)

    Work in Anthologies

    Field Notes on Survival (Bad Betty Press, 2020)
    edited by Amy Acre and Jake Wild Hall

    The Head That Wears A Crown: Poems about Kings and Queens (The Emma Press, 2018)
    edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright

    New Boots & Pantisocracies (Smokestack Press, 2016)
    edited by W.N. Herbert and Andy Jackson
    Read the New Boots & Pantisocracies project online

    There Was a Knock at the Door: 23 modern folk tales for troubling times (The Real Press, 2016)
    edited by Andrew Simms, with a foreword by Philip Pullman

    Mildly Erotic Verse (The Emma Press, 2016)
    edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright

    Asterism (Laudanum Publishing, 2016)
    edited by Tiffany Anne Tondut

    Can I Borrow a Feeling? poetry and illustration inspired by The Simpsons (Clinic, 2015)
    edited by Rachael Allen, Sam Buchan-Watts, Sean Roy Parker and Andrew Parkes

    Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe, 2015)
    edited by Raving Beauties

    The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt Publishing, 2014)
    edited by Mark Ford

    The Forward Book of Poetry 2014 (Faber & Faber, 2014)

    Extending Leylines (Jennings Photography, 2014)
    edited by Will Jennings

    Tour de Verse: Poems for the Tour de France (Red Squirrel Press, 2014)
    edited by Andy Jackson

    The Emma Press Anthology of Fatherhood (The Emma Press, 2014)
    edited by Rachel Piercey and Emma Wright

    Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History (Other Countries, 2014)
    edited by Claire Trévien

    Where Rockets Burn Through: contemporary science fiction poems from the UK (Penned in the Margins, 2012)
    edited by Russell Jones

    Binders Full of Women (Handmade binder, 2012)
    edited by Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer

    Catechism: poems in support of Pussy Riot (English PEN (hard copy via Lulu), 2012)
    edited by Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer

    Deep River Apartments: Poems inspired by David Lynch's Blue Velvet (The Private Press, 2012)
    edited by Ivy Alvarez

    Adventures in Form (Penned in the Margins, 2012)
    edited by Tom Chivers

    Herbarium (Capsule Press, 2011)
    edited by James Wilkes

    City State: New London Poetry (Penned in the Margins, 2009)
    edited by Tom Chivers

    Online Magazines

    ‘White Dress With Blood’ @ The Poetry Shed

    ‘The old food taster and the stegosaurus’ @ Poetry Spotlight
    ‘We May All Be Killed’ @ Petite Hound Press #30 and @ The Literary Review
    ‘Ten Green Bottles’, ‘Harley Quinn’ and ‘No Fish Are We Now’ @ New Statesman
    ‘Chalk Board, London’ @ New Boots and Pantisocracies 
    ‘There is no hot water in the castle (poem with Rocky Horror heckles)’@ Fake Poems
    Five poems @ Peony Moon
    ‘Three Portraits’ @ Body Literature
    Two poems @ Days of Roses
    Three poems @ Peony Moon
    ‘Hypoversion’ @ Londonist
    ‘Debtors’ @ Mercy Online (12 Angry Zines #7)

    Print Magazines

    ‘Laura’ in Clinic II
    ‘To a Crashed Pilot’ in Rising (April 2011)
    ‘No Matter’ in ,em>Stop Sharpening Your Knives 4 (Eggbox Publishing, 2011)
    ‘Sweet Death 500’ in  Polarity, June 2010
    Two poems in Dwang (Tangerine Press, 2009)
    ‘Quim is a Nice Word’ in Stop Sharpening Your Knives 3 (Eggbox Publishing, 2009)
    ‘What’s Up?’ in Rising 49 (February 2009)
    Two poems in Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue (October 2008&rpar
    ‘Three reasons to love Teedie Roosevelt’ in Rising 47 (September 2008)
    Three poems in Mimesis 2 (August 2007)
    Two poems in The New Writer 81 (March/April 2007)
    &lsquoPreservativ’ in Magma (Winter 2005)

    Competitions, Grants & Awards

    Society of Authors Grant for Work in Progress, awarded September 2019

    ‘Namazu at the Physicist's Funeral’, Commended in the 2018 National Poetry Competition

    ‘Amsterdam, 1901’, joint winner of the 2017 Live Canon International Poetry Competition
    Watch Rebecca Hare perform this poem

    ‘Shogo Says’, winner of the voucher prize in the Troubadour Poetry Competition 2016

    ‘RUN’, awarded a Lo & Behold grant from the Poetry School

    ‘Huixtocihuatl, or Salt’, commended in the 2015 Charles Causley Poetry Prize

    ‘In the morning the light passes through us’, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2015

    ‘Hazard’, shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2013

    ‘Recipe for a Saint’, commended in the 2013 Forward Prizes

    ‘Hissing Cockroach’, winner of the 2011 Live Canon International Poetry Competition

    Commissions, Articles & Interviews

    The Lincoln Imp's Birthday, created in collaboration with BBC Radio Lincolnshire as part of #BBCLocalPoets, a celebration of local culture across the UK for National Poetry Day 2018.

    Interview with Paul Brookes for The Wombwell Rainbow

    ‘Playing a Part: Imposter Syndrome in Literary and Kink Communities’, article for the Writing While Deviant series @ The Rumpus

    Interview with Hannah Sinyard at I Don’t Call Myself a Poet

    'Submission Accomplished; Sending your poetry to a magazine’ – article written for Young Poets Network
    'Starting a magazine’– article written for Young Poets Network

    Sidekick Books Projects (as Editor)

    Birdbook; Saltwater and Shore
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2016

    The fourth and final volume of Sidekick’s wildly ambitious Birdbook series. New illustrations and poems documenting over 40 British species, including the razorbill, the avocet, the puffin, the peregrine and the oystercatcher.
    More information

    Birdbook; Farmland, Heathland, Mountain & Moorland
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2015

    The third volume in Sidekick’s Birdbook anthology series, featuring over 40 species celebrated in poem and visual art, including the barn owl, the swallow, most of the corvid family, the quail and the ptarmigan.
    More information

    Birdbook; Freshwater Habitats
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2012

    Rivers, lakes, marshes and reservoirs make up the backdrop to the second Birdbook anthology, with poems and illustrations celebrating over 40 species, including the osprey, the grey heron, the sand martin, the smew, the pintail and the egyptian goose.
    More information

    Birdbook; Towns, Parks, Gardens & Woodland
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2011

    The first volume in Sidekick’s four-part illustrated poetry ornothopedia, now in its second printing. Over 40 species of bird celebrated in contemporary poem and illustration, including the swift, the sparrowhawk, the nightingale and all the beloved garden birds you can rattle a feeder at.
    More information

    Lives Beyond Us; Poems and Essays on the Film Reality of Animals
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Sebastian Manley
    Sidekick Books, 2015

    Pouncing, playing or mugging for the camera, animals are Hollywood’s unspoken stars. In this genre-bending volume of poetry and essays, co-edited with film scholar Sebastian Manley, we celebrate these non-human actors.
    More information

    Coin Opera II; Fulminare’s Revenge
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2013

    The sequel to Sidekick’s first ever micro-anthology, Coin Opera, Coin Opera II: Fulminare’s Revenge is the bigger, brasher, more hotfoiled upgrade; a clickable love letter to the video game. Formal experiments mimic and subvert trope and genre, as Sidekick dives into the treasure chest of gaming. Expect fight poems, boss poems, team-ups and more. Features a foreword by Marvel writer and former NGamer journalist Kieron Gillen.
    More information

    Korsakoff’s Paper Chain
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2010

    False memory, or Korsakoff’s Syndrome, leads subjects to fill in the blanks of events they never experienced. In this pocket study, poets reconstruct a doomed text from fire, acid and the ministrations of a slow loris. With each iteration, the text takes on new life, and rapidly forgets its old one.
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    Pocket Spellbook
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2010

    We’ve all been there. Out and about, you suddenly need to conjure an orchard, or transform one dog into one cat. If only you had a pocket tome to advise you on the best charm. Worry no longer! Dr Fulminare proudly presents Pocket Spellbook, a portable grimoire for all your magick needs!
    More information

    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2009

    Here, in their long-necked, cloud-dwelling glory, lurk the myths of old Edo and modern Tokyo. Scamper past the river, seek the ghost dog of Chikugo Fields, and watch out for that wind-twitching scarf….
    More information

    Coin Opera
    edited by Kirsten Irving & Jon Stone
    Sidekick Books, 2009

    The first ever Sidekick Books release was a micro-anthology of short poems inspired by computer games, from Bride of Pinbot to Bubble Bobble, Space Invaders to Street Fighter II, Paradroid to Portal.
    More information

    Beyond Print & Web

    ‘The Lincoln Imp's Birthday’, commissioned for BBC/National Poetry Day 2018

    ‘Godzilla Fails Destroy King Ghidorah!’ in Roulade, 2015

    ‘Excavation’ in Mercy Liverpool Biennial Audio Guide, October 2010

    Other projects by K


    Hot Cockalorum

    Sidekick Books


    Live Performances

    Culture Recordings

    Love Carcass

    Never Never Never Come Back

    What To Do