• Skylar Hamilton Burris

Review: Poems Sketched Upon the M60


I had the opportunity to publish Sam Hickford’s poems “RIP,” “Triage,” and “The Human Tower” in Ancient Paths literary magazine. Today, I received a copy of his latest poetry collection in the mail. I’m always excited to read a new collection of poetry from a poet who has appeared in the “pages” of Ancient Paths.


While the M60 motorway may be a modern structure constructed of dead concrete, the poems sketched upon it speak of once-vibrant civilizations, animals that lived and are no more, and people who have left their mark and moved on. This 49-page collection contains a variety of poems in various unrhymed styles. I enjoyed the imagery of poems such as “Three Airports” (“stretch marks on a limber lake”) and was struck by the unique similes and metaphors to be found in other verses (e.g., “like a golf ball from a blackbird’s quivered beak” or “the sky is a lesson plan”). The poems are not always immediately accessible upon a first reading and occasionally take some cracking, but it’s worth the effort. The verse has an emotional quality to the tone at times that can be haunting or bittersweet. My favorite poem in the collection was probably “The Ark.”


“Poems Sketched Upon the M60,” was published by Littoral Pres and is available for purchase at the following link: https://www.waterstones.com/book/poems-sketched-upon-the-m60/sam-hickford//9781912412334.

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