The Whole Island by Simon Maddrell
Published July 2023
‘On the edge of extinction, on the edge of the whole island, the edge of our language hovers.’
The Whole Island explores the poet's relationship with the Isle of Man, in poems about family and folklore, history and politics, nature and wildlife. The island is navigated as a body, the body as an island.
Readers may learn things about the Isle of Man, but Maddrell more frequently uses his cherished Isle as an allegory for the nature of his own queerness, and the queerness of nature and environmental threat. Liberally scattered with Manx Gaelic and dialect, The Whole Island is unapologetically Manx but welcomes its readers with open arms into its complex, conflicted world.
Imprint: Valley Press
Edition: First (July 2023)
Page count: 36
Trim size: 229x152mm
ABOUT THE POET
Simon Maddrell is a queer Manx poet, editor, facilitator and performer living in Brighton and Hove. He has been published in sixteen anthologies and numerous publications, including Poetry Wales, The Rialto, Ambit, Butcher’s Dog, Ink Sweat and Tears, Long Poem Magazine, Stand, The Moth and Under the Radar. Simon’s debut pamphlet, Throatbone, was published by UnCollected Press in 2020. His second, Queerfella, jointly won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition 2020. Nine Pens Press published the anthologies All About Our Mothers in 2022 and All About Our Fathers in 2023 – a three-poet collaboration with Simon Maddrell, Vasiliki Albedo and Mary Mulholland. Simon’s Manx queer history pamphlet, Isle of Sin, was published by Polari Press in March 2023.
EARLY PRAISE FOR THE WHOLE ISLAND
‘The Whole Island addresses Maddrell's passionate and sometimes conflicted relationship with the island of their birth, their ‘heart's place’ told sideways and through story. Imbued with physicality, it is an emotional and startlingly honest journey back from exile, from feelings of abandonment, alienation and shame to those of love, longing, hope and excitement. For Maddrell, there is always the sense of discovery, ‘on the edge of everywhere, there is always something new’. Something new is often born out of something old. He takes such discoveries for himself, often using them as external symbols of an inner conflict. The language is rich, detailed and imaginative, notable for the use of Manx Gaelic words and phrases, and borrowings from other poets, including the great Manx poet of the nineteenth century, TE Brown, to whom this book is, in many ways, a personal response.
Annie Kissack, Fifth Manx Bard