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The Anatomy of Structures

Cover image: Charlotte Hardy

The poems in this collection explore lives behind closed doors. In opening these doors, Rebecca Goss is not afraid to unsettle her reader, revealing danger and desire in a variety of voices. These compact narratives portray a heady mix of sex, fear, longing and revenge, her poems trembling with tenderness and sorrow while depicting people at their most vulnerable and exposed. Her style is succinct, each poem pared to the bone. The people you meet inside this book may be alarming, their lives may veer and freewheel, but Goss’s pen is unnervingly calm and indisputably in control.


'What is remarkable about her poems is that they make the most intimate experiences of love and death both shocking and simple... It is a fine first book'

Jon Glover, Stand, Volume 10 (2), 2011

The poems are physical and violent but also sexy … above all they are highly original and tender, exposing physical longing but also anxiety.

Paul Stephenson, 25 Years in the North magazine no.46 (Winter 2010)

‘Rebecca Goss’ debut allows the reader to see far more of the journey she’s taken to where she is now. Her style – spare, unshowy and thoroughly honed – is consistent throughout. Goss uses it to carry a series of tense, slightly mysterious family narratives that together tell a wider story. Poems such as Knowledge and Fold pack an awful lot of punch into their small frames.’

Matt Merritt, Magma 48

This is Rebecca Goss’ first full collection, and it’s a startlingly good beginning. For her the poem’s the thing. When she chooses to write about imaginary situations, she still achieves the tang of truth. This is good, strong, efficient writing, accurate, economical, clear-sighted, from a woman who has her finger on the pulse of life.

R.V. Bailey, Envoi, 157, October 2010

‘Her poems feel close to us, as if it is she who is eavesdropping on our own shared, though rather private experiences – and not we who are learning about what we assume to be hers. There is a great deal of touching and smelling, of clothes, food, vegetables, and a fair dollop of sex. The Anatomy of Structures is very engrossingly readable.’

Michael Glover, The Tablet, 23 October 2010

‘There is a misleading sparseness in Goss’s poetry; images baldly stated are nonetheless deeply unsettling or or startling and this pared-down quality intensifies the emotional impact of the poems.’

Poetry Book Society, Autumn 2010

‘Well achieved and sharply perceptive people poems, with a feeling of physical closeness and no sentimentality’

Peter Bennet in Other Poetry Series 4, no 2.

‘Rebecca’s poetry is direct, yet often placed at interesting angles to what seems to be its subject. She writes about death, sex, relationships, the body; there’s a sense of the forbidden that hovers over her work like a fallen angel. One to savour, one to buy.’

John Harvey

‘An incredibly tight collection that coheres in a way so many collections don’t — almost all the poems have an echo of the wonderful title poem, whether it be pathology, histories or loss.’

Anne-Marie Fyfe

‘A very clear voice, catching at the emotional drama of the world, its strangeness, sexiness and occasionally its yearning.’

Robert Seatter

’This is poetry of the ordinary made extraordinary – of the beautiful untidiness of what it means to be human and the attempt to reconcile convention, desire and the caprice of fate.’

Elizabeth Speller

To buy this book:

The Anatomy of Structures costs £7.50 and was published in July 2010.
ISBN: 978-1-906601-17-1

Rebecca Goss

Rebecca Goss, who was born in 1974, grew up in Suffolk and now lives in Liverpool with her family. She began writing poetry as a teenager and was a Special Award winner in the 1991 WH Smith Young Writer’s Competition, judged by Ted Hughes. A recipient of a North West Arts young writer’s bursary, her poems have appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies, while a pamphlet, Keeping Houston Time (Slow Dancer Press), appeared in 1997. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University and for several years taught at Liverpool John Moores University. The Anatomy of Structures is her first collection.

Link: Rebecca Goss’s pages on Poetry PF

Photo: Rosie Bennett

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