Updated: Sep 13
Reading Branfoot's debut pamphlet of poetry I'll Splinter (Pariah Press 2021) is like sitting on the dunes and watching the Irish sea fall into the coastline. Through his visceral verse you are transported gently across landscapes both familiar and strange. Likewise, what should perhaps constitute as 'familiar' is made strange by a darting and precise repertoire of a wound intellect. Each line presses into the next like the foam of the ocean would your feet, ever so naturally.
His talent is best displayed in the medium to long poems of the collection. These lend to his ability to create a real sense of lived experience, and where his ability to play with language is clear to the reader. My personal favourites are Shadowmoss (which first appeared in the third issue of BRAG Literary Magazine), and Widowed. Tom's images are clear and inspiring. Those that are founded in the natural world work to strike at what we believe it is to be human, especially when contrasted to 'manmade' or urban territory. These poems delicately suggest the world may not be as human as we would like to believe, but that those parts that are can also be beautiful.
In his poem Equinox, Branfoot speaks of 'hunting for a moment of balance', which is a feeling that - I believe - lasts throughout this marvellous debut. Branfoot is a poet to be excited for. A voice to watch.
Brandon graduated with a First Class Honours in Creative Writing from MMU, and looks forward to updating his very BRAG photograph.
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