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Publication Date: 11th April 2019
In Zebra, a boy steps tentatively from the shadows onto a strobe-lit dancefloor. Ian Humphreys’ much-anticipated debut shimmers with music, wit and humour while exploring mixed identities, otherness, and coming-of-age as a gay man in 1980s Manchester. These acutely-observed, joyful poems pay homage to those who took the first steps – minority writers, LGBT civil rights activists, 70s queer night-clubbers and the poet’s own mixed-race parents.
A heady cocktail of the playful, political and mythical, Humphreys’ Zebra is also a creature of opposites – light and dark, countryside and cityscape, highs and lows. The collection moves from semi-rural England to the metropolitan hubs of Hong Kong, London and New York, circling its subjects, often finding the uncanny in the familiar, always drawing the reader centre-stage.
Praise for Ian Humphreys:
"A powerful, moving, original body of work. The material in Zebra is often high-voltage and emotionally risky, but Ian Humphreys' confidence with form enables him to control it. These are poems which will find readers, hit nerves, matter to people... and what more can we want for our work?" - Jean Sprackland
"With its depictions of 1980s gay culture and multiracial heritage, Zebra is a love poem to identity – and the complicated, violent world in which it is shaped. Ian Humphreys celebrates and mourns that world in his fierce, delicate mastery of language: the collection rings with an extraordinary combination of pride and fury, love and grief. Glorious in every sense of the word, this is an important book, and I am very grateful for it." - Clare Shaw
"Ian’s work is lit with humour and wit, music and rhyme, which he employs with a lightness of touch. He is a natural poet with a highly individualist style." - Mona Arshi