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Scattering Ashes Waterloo Samplers No. 3 



Out of Print

Dan Wyke Waiting for the Sky to Fall (2010)


ISBN 978-1-906742-18-8


Poetry that is attuned to the everyday so as to transcend it. ...a fully formed, individual voice in control of its material. Wyke’s delicate use of ‘previously disguised’ serves just this purpose, transforming the words around it into something special, forcing us to reassess the stanza. This is the sort of work that would be ensured popularity among those who feel poetry can and should be a comprehensible yet challenging art.
Matthew Stewart, Rogue Strands

Wyke... can create pathos that sidesteps the bathetic
Will Daunt, New Hope International

Lyrical narrative unity
Mario Petrucci

Since Scattering Ashes (2004), Dan Wyke — a poet of an increasingly rare breed who prize the privacy of craftsmanship over the publicity of live-lit — has continued writing and publishing through magazines and supplements. This long-anticipated first full volume, Waiting for the Sky to Fall, combines a choice selection of Wyke’s earlier oeuvre with a more protean post-2004 body of work that marks a new tonal variation to an already well-developed voice. Poems such as the lyric-triptych ‘In Verona’ echo formative Italian influences – Montale, Quasimodo, Ungaretti et al. – more intimately, while revealing another fermented quality: poetic humility: ‘There are no words for how I feel./ There still aren’t./ And I still keep trying to find them’. Wyke’s limpid prosody is matched by an ability to tug the heart strings without plunging into sentimentality; momentary frustrations and impasses take on Tulpa-like shapes of their own: ‘My words unravel like thread, snag on the wind’ (‘Father & Son’); ‘Silence sits between us, insect-still’ (the masterly ‘In the Dark’).

Wyke’s humanistic impulse to plumb the nuances of emotion — bereavement, or more inexplicable sadnesses — has a healing spirit, ring-fenced in its own holistic purpose: a reflective voice in a frenetic age. Aspects of contemporary poetics are distilled into something more authentic: prose- inflections are corniced with lyricism; domestic meditations are more Buddhist than quotidian (‘The day.../ ...is extraordinary/ for its ordinariness’); and epiphanies feel serendipitous rather than contrived. An emotional maturation of tones adumbrated in earlier pieces, expressionistic in timbre, fluted with leitmotifs — ‘moons’, ‘stars’, ‘blackbirds’ — is allied with a ripening of trope: ‘heaving its battered shell/ like an old man carrying a bath-tub’ (‘Tortoise’). One could go on, but that would be to spoil the surprises nestled throughout this affecting, moving and highly accomplished collection.

Read reviews:

Eyewear blogspot: Guest Review: Jivani On Wyke, 9th April 2011, by Maureen Jivani
The Guardian review, 5th February 2011 by Ben Wilkinson
Rogue Strands review, 10th July 2010 by Matthew Stewart
Ink Sweat & Tears blogsite review, 07/09/2010 by Ken Head 


Dan Wyke was born in 1973 and grew up in Cranleigh, Surrey. He spent two years living in Verona and Rome before returning to London to study English at Queen Mary and Westfield. He moved to Brighton in 1996 where he completed an MA in twentieth-century poetry at the University of Sussex. Since then he has divided his time between writing and working part-time.

More recently he retrained as a person-centred counsellor. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Oxford Poetry, Thumbscrew, The Rialto, The London Magazine, the Spectator and the Times Literary Supplement. 

He received an Eric Gregory Award in 1999. A pamphlet, Scattering Ashes, was published by Waterloo Press in 2004.

He currently lives in Brighton with his wife and daughter, where he works as a counsellor and manages a rehabilitation project for Age Concern.

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