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ISBN 978-1-909585-11-9
First published February 2016; 106 pp; paperback with endpapers; 198 x 129 mm
Click here to read a pdf excerpt.
Julain Stannard taught for many years at the University of Genoa and is now a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Winchester. He has published several previous poetry collections and a number of critical works. With André Naffis-Sahely, he co-edited The Palm Beach Effect: Reflections on Michael Hofmann (CBe, 2013).
Julian Stannard  What were you thinking?

      Poets disappear –
      dragged off to a freak show
      or lined up against the courtyard wall
      and shot, their poems,
      according to the commissar,
      guilty of a
      that creeps into the writing
      notwithstanding everything.

‘The depth charge at work in Stannard’s every electric sentence makes him one of the most distinctive British poets working today.’
     – Deborah Levy

The poems in What were you thinking? are grouped in sections titled ‘Happy’, ‘The Street of Perfect Love’ and ‘Dear Nosh’. Be careful what you wish for.

‘This is a book of playful, moving poems with an almost excruciating self-deprecation. It’s lyrical, real, wistful, and then it sometimes barks like a dog you can't completely trust. There are strange happenings, ancient and modern. The poet’s bedsheets emigrate to Poland. Mothers dress their children in tutelary clothes so they can carry uncooked Christmas turkeys the weight of the baby Jesus across heaths ... Most of these poems are a page in length, but they’re packing heat. They read like memoranda from the future, from someone who’s got slightly worse luck than you do.’
     – Todd McEwen, The Herald

‘At his best, Stannard is a very fine poet with an apparently nonchalant style that allows him to be pointed but never vicious, ironic but never smug, considered but never sententious ... The finest poems here are at once deadly serious and humanely silly.’
     – Rory Waterman, Times Literary Supplement

‘In a style that recalls Frederick Seidel, Stannard delights in taunting the precious or moralistic reader by plunging them into a world of privilege, bathos and casual iniquity.’
     – Dai George, The Poetry Review

From reviews of Julian Stannard’s previous books:

‘Theres an air of luxurious melancholy about these poems, a languid play of feelings and associations, that sets them wholly against the uptight, earnest strain in British writing and that appeals to me warmly.’
     – Christopher Reid

‘Like Frank O’Hara, Stannard can shift from breathless joy to heartbreak without warning ... one of the most unabashedly entertaining bodies of work in contemporary British poetry.’
     – Declan Ryan

‘The poetry of Julian Stannnard is a fresh and delectable pleasure because he is a flâneur without alienation, a wit whose sharpness comes at nobody’s expense, and a gourmand with a gleeful sense of mortality.’
     – Don Share