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‘Freighted, weighted, formally inventive, and often entertaining, the poems in Christy Ducker’s Skipper dance across the page. Mapping a series of emotional and geographical journeys, these deft and tough poems surprise and invigorate. Ducker’s eyes are wide-open taking in life, birth and death, and all its complex variables. And there’s a fabulous sequence of poems about Grace Darling that brings Grace back from the outer limits.’

Jackie Kay

‘Christy Ducker’s Skipper has a beautiful edge and sheen. These are poems of a hard-earned intimacy. But they raise volatile questions; their present tense can channel a suppressed history. Taut lines can turn fast. Behind the wit there’s an imperative, ‘the desperate need to pay attention.’ Skipper is important work by a powerful poet.’


D. Nurkse

‘a really enjoyable collection of poems, as various as first collections should be, full of good humour and far-sightedness, and written with real flair.’

Jonathan Davidson

‘If I was allowed just one word to describe Ducker’s writing in this collection it would be canny; a Northumbrian word, weathered and layered and rich as the patched hull of the boat on the book’s cover.’

John Foggin

Skipper introduces an intriguing and readable new voice. Christy Ducker plays between light and dark, music and texture to take us into the swim of life. Warm, but never sentimental, the poems teem with people and everyday wonders: St Cuthbert appears at a laser clinic; breasts talk; a horse dentist perseveres; and Grace Darling learns to count. Ducker extends her vision from the deeply personal to the historical, engaging us in questions of self and place. This is a bold first collection, from a poet of energy and verve.

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