A Bluebottle in Late October

“John Wheway’s first full collection places its trust exactly where it should be: in the poetic present tense where every gnomic detail is magnified, every commonplace brought to its own species of transfiguration. At a time when the lyric is so much in need, he rejuvenates it in its most pellucid and most effortless form; the couplet is reshaped and crystallised, and comes to life. A Bluebottle in Late October is a memorable sequence of poems.” Tim Liardet

“This is a funny, sad, yet uplifting account of how we live and love. Poems by a formidable poet, pulling no punches, yet with a delightful lightness of touch.

Domestic bliss is here, with moments of tenderness and beauty, hopelessness too, and a deep urge to engage. How can we live together? Why do we need to?  What compels us?

These poems made me laugh out loud, though their acuity is sobering. We’ll all glimpse ourselves in them. Marked by meticulous diction and vibrant imagery, this is poetry with an authentic voice.” Neil Rollinson

A Bluebottle in Late October is very particular and very human.

ISBN: 978-1-9161096-0-5
72 pages
R.R.P. £10.99

A sample poem from A Bluebottle in Late October can be enjoyed below.

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A Bluebottle in Late October (including P&P)

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Making Up 

At the mirror, she takes a step back, 
like an artist changing places 

for a different angle, absorbed 
not in herself 

but in the portrait’s subject, dabbing 
pigment over each cheek, circling 

with the tip of her pinkie to reveal 
unseen depths. 

He’d never seen his mother in her, 
but now he’s like the boy who watched 

the woman in the strapless dress, lips kissed 
with Rouge Noir, hurrying 

downstairs to the street, bowing 
into a waiting taxi. He’d peer 

between the curtains, noticing 
the eagerness in her pace, 

not knowing what it meant, 
though he knew she loved to dance, 

and that the Polish captain 
who gave him that red fire engine 

was not his father’s friend.


"John Wheway’s brilliant debut collection, A Blue Bottle in Late October, is ambitious; a mini saga with a compelling narrative arc, told through a series of short, self contained lyrics grouped into three ‘acts’, with plenty of drama and action and memorable characters. An ordinary, everyday tragedy, made extraordinary by the telling of it. [...]

"This collection has the heart and narrative scope of a novella, elevated into something special by the poet’s eye. Just open at random and enjoy [...]"

Alison Woodhouse, The High Window, full review here

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