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Nick Burbridge The Unicycle Set (2010)

Nick Burbridge is a fine story-teller, whose poems are both worldly and wise…bustling with life, like a small community, its inhabitants portrayed with deftness, diversity and detail
Will Daunt, Envoi 

Fluent and highly readable… a sensitive and measured articulation of the desperate struggles with the darker side of being.... With a distinctly lyrical lilt and a calm yet penetrating evenness of tone, Burbridge plumbs the depths…The real strength lies in the lightness and humour with which the gravity of the subjects is dispersed, remaining faithful to the ...seriousness of the experiences
Karen Smith, Poetry Express

Just one click on Nick Burbridge’s website reveals a man driven: if you thought his compositions as leader of ranting roots rockers McDermott’s Two Hours were edgy, prepare yourself for a ride, his poetry is radical and subversive
Simon Jones, fRoots


ISBN 978-1-906742-28-7


A collection as delightful as it is sometimes disturbing. Burbridge is equally at home in the pub, on the football stand, or in an autumn garden.
Consider the crushed bowl now, / pulps of broken petals. / Isn’t it time // to return it to the sun / splashed with colours? / Nakedness is more than this. // There are still shoots in the yard. / The drone of bees. / A hint of summers to come. (‘Nihilists’)
  Peter Bennet, Other Poetry, Series 4 No.3 

Poet and pub-magpie of the Brighton-Irish bogs, Nick Burbridge invites us into his bohemian lock-in of the soul. This exceptional collection of no-holds-barred narratives, vignettes, ballads and songs, blossoming throughout with gorgeous tropes, is Burbridge’s third collection, following All Kinds of Disorder (Waterloo, 2006) and his debut On Call (Envoi Poets, 1994). That the past sixteen years have been punctuated by only three Burbridge collections is partly due to his prolific output in other mediums: plays, novels (as Dominic McCartan), and music, including collaborative sojourns with Brighton grown band The Levellers. But Burbridge has also been an irrepressible fixture to poetry magazines, and his conquering of the three prestigious ‘A’-titles, Acumen, Agenda, Ambit, is testament to his highly accomplished, imaginative, and eminently readable poetry.

What makes Burbridge’s poetry stand against most journal product is its mix of emotional grit, social truth and painterly but disciplined use of language. His boiling verbalism is abundant throughout this volume: ‘Three wise monkeys squatted in his skull./ Raising the old brolly, clothes piled on his flesh’ (‘Summer Break’), ‘The grandfather as tramp, stained fingers/ locked on the handle of his pram,’ (‘Artful Dodger’), ‘a Marxist reconstructed as town hall executive/ and his shy wife.../...laced with many benefits’ (‘Solomon Baker’s Report’). So take a binge on a picaresque kaleidoscope of Burbridgean brio; its wit and linguistic gusto; its lashings of Irish yarn- spinners — the ubiquitous Flynn, Fiddler Molloy — at a seamier seaside of wraps, waifs, rakes, tirades and taboos. You’ll not be able to stop for a postcard.


Nick Burbridge is an Anglo-Irish poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, short story and songwriter, who lives in Brighton. He is author of two other books of poetry: All Kinds of Disorder (Waterloo Press, 2006; also released as an album of readings and effects), and On Call (Envoi Poets, 1994). His plays include Dirty Tricks (Soho Theatre), Vermin (Finborough), and Cock Robin (Verity Bargate Award Runner-up).

Burbridge writes for his own fringe company, and has had work broadcast often on BBC Radio. His novel, Operation Emerald (Pluto), was published under the pseudonym Dominic McCartan. He collaborated with Captain Fred Holroyd on War Without Honour (Harrap/Medium), launched at the House of Commons. His short stories have featured in literary journals, and Arts Council anthologies New Stories 5 and 6 (Hutchinson) and 20 Stories (Secker & Warburg).

As a singer/ songwriter Burbridge has made six albums with band McDermott’s Two Hours, in collaboration with The Levellers, who covered his song ‘Dirty Davey’ on their eponymous number one album. His songs are widely recognised as a significant contribution to the folk revival.


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