Books I have written or edited. My three poetry collections shamelessly on top, others in chronological order of publication.
Sweet Nothings (Carcanet, 2020)
My third collection, published 28 May 2020.
‘Very good indeed.’
Wendy Cope, i
Sarajevo Roses (Carcanet, 2017)
My second book of poems. Shortlisted for the Ledbury Forte Prize for second collections 2019.
‘Very few poets can bring to the lives of others the same devout attention we tend to bestow upon ourselves: Rory Waterman is just such a poet. Whether their site of meditation is an abandoned colliery or a much-marketed urban vista, the exquisite lyrics of Sarajevo Roses are imbued with mindfulness. Suppleness of poetic line matches suppleness of spirit.’
Linda Gregerson, Ledbury Forte Prize judge, 2019
‘His vision is clear, his language scrupulously chosen, his quest for meaning apparent and authentic. […] The world is a slightly better place for the existence of this book. I do not write that lightly.’
Peter Pegnall, Ploughshares
‘Deep imaginative sympathy not just for the victims of history, but for our everyday experiences of family and community. […] Waterman has a flawless gift for the telling detail which says more than pages of polemic. […] Humane and wonderful poems.’
William Bedford, The High Window
‘A seriousness of form and subject uncommon among his generation. […] Subversive – and substantial.’
Robert Selby, The Times Literary Supplement
‘Very affecting […]. The collection moves restlessly through the UK to Europe and the US, and although many specific locations are contained in the titles, and are acutely observed so that we feel we know the place, they quickly become the backdrop to a diorama where the focus turns sharply to some of the big issues in life – relationships, family, procreation, death.’
Vicki Husband, The Compass
‘Although he is sometimes angry, the poet is also generous and open-minded. If, in time, I’m ever asked by anyone what England was like at this time of transition and perceived crisis, I’ll put this book in their hand.’
David Clarke, A Thing for Poetry
Mastery of form here, and tonal control. […] Waterman’s work extends out and beyond any dangerously neat equations or notions of ‘home’ and ‘self’; with him it is in the settings of Europe’s past and future. ‘Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate’ and ‘Pulling Over to Inspect a Pillbox with a North American Tourist’ (with the “markered slogan”: do bother to find it) are great things. […] Overwhelmingly, entire poems and moments from them prove Waterman to have a fine ear and eye.
Under the Radar
‘A volume that finely balances both wit and wisdom.’
‘For all his often regular metrics and traditional craft, these are not conservative poems; their panic and despair are more in line with Robinson Jeffers than the tweedy members of the Movement.’
Tonight the Summer’s Over (Carcanet, 2013)
My debut collection of poetry. PBS Recommendation. Shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize 2014.
‘Waterman […] is at once restrained and assured. He has a fine eye for a poem’s architecture, playing with symmetry, taking pleasure in the shape of the page, and he demonstrates a remarkably good ear.’ The Warwick Review
‘Great poetry, but poetry to be read with a health warning.’
Belinda Cooke, Stride
‘The best first collection I’ve read in the past couple of years.’
Matthew Stewart, Rogue Strands
‘A convincing, affecting collection.’
Tony Roberts, Stand
‘The surprise, the drama, is beautifully managed. […] Another perfect little lyric. […] In the final [lines of the collection] description gives way to invocation, to a discreet affirmation of the propriety of a poet’s absorbtions, one for whose worth the collection as a whole stands guarantor.’ The Dark Horse
‘A remarkable debut. […] Possessed of some hefty qualities that nimbly span the twin senses of contemporaneity and tradition.’ The Interpreter’s House
‘A hymn to the importance of dusting down and moving on. […] A moving book.’
Ben Wilkinson, The Times Literary Supplement
‘By just picking his words with an almost scientific exactitude he makes a poem that is meditative and unforced.’ The Irish Examiner
‘Rory Waterman writes poems of the kind there’ll always be a need for – poems that require skill to make but don’t insist on it, that combine keen-eyed observation and immediately graspable shades of feeling in a memorable way. Waterman’s is a very appealing voice, laconic, unillusioned and vulnerable. His world is a recognisable and convincing one, his rueful, sometimes harsh sincerity is palpable, and he deserves to be read by anyone to whom these things still matter.’ Alan Jenkins
Two poems from the book are discussed by Henry King here.
Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate (Rack Press, 2017)
A pamphlet of 12 pages. It has sold out, but a few copies are still available directly from me. Please email via the ‘Contact’ tab if you’d like one.
‘Rory Waterman’s first complete collection, Tonight the Summer’s Over was much lauded, seen as ‘the best first collection for the past couple of years’ and was a PBS recommendation. The splendidly titled Brexit Day on the Balmoral Estate is a fine widening out of subject matter.’ Manchester Review
‘[Waterman] confronts the unpoetic Brexit head-on — and then does what poetry does best: writes slant. None of these nine poems is directly about the current political debate; it’s only with the date at the end of the final poem (which is also the title poem) that the pamphlet reveals the pain in its heart. Italicised: 24 June 2016. Yes: that date. So what looked like separate poems, poems about individual places, people, travel — Sarajevo, Palma, Basilicata, Venice, avoiding politics in the pre-election USA — suddenly click into place […]. No, the pamphlet isn’t going to force its opinions on us.’ Sphinx
‘Perfect expression and tone. […]. The poems display clarity and craft and bring us the sense of their occasions strongly without fuss.’ London Grip
NB There is also this, no. 11 in the Clutag Press ‘Five Poems’ series.
Poets of the Second World War (Northcote House, 2016)
‘Accessible and informative […]. Waterman proves an astute guide to the variety of powerful and intimate responses prompted by these cataclysmic events. I recommend his book as a sound introduction to Second World War poetry for general readers and students alike.’ Modern Language Review
The True Traveller: W. H. Davies, A Reader (Fyfield, 2015)
edited and introduced by Rory Waterman. This was Paperback of the Week in the Guardian.
‘I’m very glad this selection has come out. […] And you quickly realise that Rory Waterman is a good editor.’ The Guardian
‘However much his colourful life helped, it was his writing that was responsible for his fame initially. […] [W]orth preserving […] excellent introduction’. The Times Literary Supplement
Something Happens, Sometimes Here: Contemporary Lincolnshire Poetry (Five Leaves, 2015)
edited and introduced by Rory Waterman
‘Bringing the possibilities of poetry, in response to the county’s sights and sounds, up to date.’ Lincolnshire Life
Belonging and Estrangement in the Poetry of Philip Larkin, R. S. Thomas and Charles Causley (Routledge, 2014)
‘Detailed and compelling. […] Much to contribute to discussions of twentieth-century poetry. […] Historically engaged and formally alert. […] Waterman handles his material carefully, enriching not limiting his readings with personal details. He offers fine, sensitive readings. […] Resonant in wider, different public terms.’ Notes & Queries
‘Waterman’s study brings new perspectives and insights. [… His] discussion of Causley and his writing is acute and detailed, establishing nuances and contradictions.’ Charles Causley Society Newsletter
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