kirsten irving, poet & editor

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.

Hot Cockalorum
(Guillemot Press, 2022)

Hot Cockalorum is my second full poetry collection, and one in which language and ritual are expressions of arcane power. As in the anonymous, cross-cultural folk tale Master of All Masters, the Master names things in order to possess them; girls and young women enter worlds delineated and controlled by men, where fantasy and whimsy are forms of fettering. In response, the protagonists and personae of these poems study shapeshifting, practise contortion and construct their own ceremonial acts of submission, always with an eye on the keys that dangle from the gaoler’s belt.

Drawing on threads of fable, folklore, musical theatre and pop culture, and weaving them with the recognisably real, these poems are small spells of defiance and mock compliance, to be kept about the person in case of fire.

“A phantasmagorical cast of characters from cowgirls to werewolves, from Jeff Goldblum to Rust Commander Bunny, appear in dramatic monologues and perfectly realised narratives. Every line carries in a little gift which quietly unwraps itself before your eyes. Hot Cockalorum is so full of magic you feel afraid of what it might turn you into. I haven’t yet dared look in the mirror.”
–Mark Waldron

The book is a beautifully typeset hardback, lovingly produced by Guillemot Press and bound in deep plum recycled leather, with a foiled cat skull design by artist Donya Todd.

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Other projects by K

Blog
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Hot Cockalorum
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Sidekick Books
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Voiceover
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Live Performances
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Culture Recordings
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Love Carcass
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Never Never Never Come Back
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What To Do
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Headbooks
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Birdbooks
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Bibliography
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