Press Quotes and Reviews

Praise for playtime 

"Vivid, accessible and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so." (Alan Bennett London Review of Books)

"An unobstructed exploration of an important subject. McMillan is writing not only see-through but see-beyond poetry." (Kate Kellaway Observer)

"By returning to familiar ground and deepening his engagement with it, McMillan makes clear that the poetics of physical wasn’t a one-off. As with all the best second outings, this collection firmly establishes his patent… [a] fully realised, deeply humane collection." (Sarah Crown Guardian)

"[An] equally page-turning second collection… McMillan is 30, but writes with the melancholy understatement for an older writer… McMillan’s pared-back style puts great weight on each word, often with magnetic results… McMillan wears his influences on his sleeve – Thom Gunn, Sharon Olds’s explicit Odes, a flicker of Book of Matches-era Simon Armitage – yet brings them together in a voice that is confident, captivating and distinctly his own… Any fans of physical worrying how McMillan could top one of the most widely praised debuts of recent years should breathe a sigh of relief: playtime may be a quieter collection, but it’s a deeper, richer one too."

(Tristram Fane Saunders Telegraph, Poetry Books of the Month)

"Andrew McMillan’s second collection, playtime, is every bit as impressive as his first, physical… He seems attuned to the world around him and he has a sly sense of humour at his command. He is more than promising now."

(Paul Bailey Literary Review)

"McMillan scrutinises the violent idealism of masculinity in monologues that are both tender and steely… told with courage, invention and charm."

(Jeremy Noel-Tod, Sunday Times)

"Andrew McMillan's award-winning debut collection, physical, a raw and tender exploration of gay love and desire, heralded him as a new force in contemporary poetry. This, his second book, only cements that reputation... these poems are insightful, revealing, honest and brutally tender."

(attitude)

"playtime is admirably devoted to intimacies and it has a tenderness to it even in its most private of moments... This is a triumphant collection of poems."

(Elaine Cosgrove Totally Dublin)

 

Praise for physical

"Minutely observed, bold yet understated, moving and often profound in the same breath, Physical is a book everyone should read" (The Guardian)

 

"Andrew McMillan’s wide-awake debut anatomises male desire and its often thwarted expressions; these fresh and engaging poems enter the temple of longing in honest search for what may be found there, which turns out to be joy, desolation, secret languages, the possibilities of transformation and of disappointment borne in every touch." (Mark Doty)

"Physical really announces Andrew McMillan and it feels like a long while since a first book has managed this degree of tenderness and candour, sensuality and vulnerability. “There is beauty in the ordinary”, and every poem in this urgent, unflinching, exceptional debut affirms this." (Paul Farley)

"Thom Gunn, the lodestar of this collection, said that poetry comes from obsession and passion. Few first books are as passionate, as carnal, as this one. McMillan’s work is a glorious, vivid exploration of the body as the loved and broken ground on which we meet and are transformed." (Michael Symmons Roberts)

"Unforced, unbidden, these are poems that call you by your real name, poems that have seen you naked, poems that find out your secrets and gift them back. Physical is alive with subtle reflections on masculinity, love and loss; a record of how we forget ourselves and how we remember. It will captivate and change you." (Helen Mort)

 

“Andrew McMillan’s debut collection is, in the best sense, unrelenting. It occupies a space from which there is no retreat; which is not to speak only of its returning subject - ‘male desire’ - but also of the poet’s unflinching encounters with matters of the heart” (David Harsent)

 

“Andrew McMillan writes consistently graceful, vigorous and heart-felt poems of male desire, building structures which know the uses of silence as well as though of language” (Carol Rumens)

 

“An absolutely, thrillingly, distinctive voice that marries the visceral and the intellectual in an original way” (Ahren Warner)

 

“ Visceral, sensual poems unafraid to face down the darker side of life and desire” (Adam O’Riordan)

 

“Joyfully obliterates drab conventions and moves with honesty and fervour through the perilous reaches of human desire” (Joanna Kavenna)

 

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