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7 Oct21

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Verse Daily
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collections, Shoestring Press –
“In Desert”
“Canyon Journey”
“Tightrope Dancer”


Judith Wilkinson is a British poet living in Groningen, the Netherlands. She has published three collections of her own poetry with Shoestring Press: Tightrope Dancer (2010), Canyon Journey (2016), with artwork by Ditty Doornbos, and In Desert (2021). This most recent collection focuses on the experiences of people who have spent time in the desert: adventurers, artists, recluses, refugees. Wilkinson explores various solitary journeys, when a person is thrown back on his or her own resources. Some of the poems in Tightrope Dancer have been performed by the London dance-theatre company The Kosh.
Wilkinson is also a translator of contemporary Dutch and Flemish poetry and has published eight collections of translations, including Miriam Van hee’s Instead of Silence, Shoestring 2007, which was a PBS recommendation, and Toon Tellegen’s Raptors, which was awarded the Popescu Prize. Other awards include the Brockway Prize and the David Reid Translation Prize. In 2011 her work as a whole was nominated for a London Poetry Award.
Comments and Reviews –
On Tightrope Dancer:

Tightrope Dancer is a very powerful poem, superbly realised in the sustained circus metaphor, and I love the way it darts between first and third person. I read it greedily, over and over, heart pounding. I think Judith Wilkinson has a very rare gift, and her technique is so well-honed that you can scarcely notice it.


Sylvia Kantaris


That weighing of stillness against movement, uncertainty against decisiveness, is central to Wilkinson’s engaging first collection, which is in many ways a coming to terms.


Lawrence Sail, The Warwick Review


On The Kosh’s performance of the title poem in Tightrope Dancer:

‘The circus has departed,’ announces the poem which inspired this delicious one-woman show with trapeze. The reflections on love as a circus are often wise, and the link between passion and acrobatics is more convincing than in any of the Kosh’s work to date.


Tom Morris, The Independent


On On Canyon Journey:

Judith Wilkinson was familiar to me only through her translations of the Dutch poet Toon Tellegen. Canyon Journey confirms the status of her own work. It joins the ranks of books about surviving and it is her attentiveness to language that makes it memorable.


D.A. Prince, London Grip


On In Desert:

I hugely enjoyed this collection, it’s a terrific read.


John Lucas, Shoestring Press