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Gub

On sale

1st February 2024

Price: £10.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472158086

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‘Gub is unlike anything I have ever read. In a playful demotic that is exhilarating, hilarious and never forced, Scott McKendry makes magic of a Belfast that in other hands would make grim reading. The most exciting poet to come out of the north of Ireland in many years’ Louise Kennedy, author of Tresspasses

‘There is nothing else like this in Irish poetry. A lyrical savant of the highest level, and one of the most exciting writers in Ireland today, McKendry is utterly his own beast’ Michael Nolan, author of Close To Home

‘A distinctive and energetic voice’ Sunday Times Ireland

Demons, geese, The Laughing Cow, marching bands, LSD and pistols smuggled home from the USSR. You’ll find all these in Scott McKendry’s GUB.

Rooted in the language of working-class Belfast, and slipping between eras and time zones, closing the gap between the real and the fantastical, the academic and the everyday, the parish and the polis, McKendry’s exhilarating debut collection comes to terms with generational trauma, social decay and the rituals of a place with a fraught history and an uncertain future.

Invoking the balaclava’d gunmen, urban warlords and explosions which gripped the decades either side of the Good Friday Agreement, GUB drags the language of ghettoised Belfast into serious Irish poetry. Wearing the lyrical influences of his ‘ugly city’ lightly – Carson, McGuckian, Longley – McKendry’s tightly-wrought structures weave an unprecedented verse of mourning, witness, alter ego, class alienation and aesthetic turmoil.

Noisy, dark and witty, GUB is an utterly new voice out of Belfast, but one posting bulletins across inner-city neighbourhoods everywhere.

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Reviews

Susan McKay, author of BEAR IN MIND THESE DEAD
The poems are brutally eloquent, and with a fierce cultural commentary running through them, from the carry on in the hut at the Twelfth bonfire site to a satire on the secret inauguration rituals of loyal orders. There is a streak of surreal hilarity in those that involve the poet as a childhood 'oddity' observing the out and out craziness of the Troubles
Dig With It Magazine
GUB layers up a sense of place and a fond character to this North Belfast parish... a great collection
Maria McManus
Fresh, inventive, authentic and brilliant. McKendry is witty, intelligent and utterly original. We need this poetry; he is of here, but with a boundary-bursting world view, that changes how we see ourselves and our sense of our place in the world. Bravo
Michael Magee, author of CLOSE TO HOME
McKendry does something truly radical with this book. Even at its most phantasmagorical, it combines intense philosophical inquiry with a profound familiarity with the terrain on which his world is built and the people who populate it. Gub is a work comparable in scope and import to Ciaran Carson's Belfast Confetti. Like Carson, McKendry's ear is attuned to the cadence of the city's "speech and slabber", which he transposes, with great aplomb, to the upper echelons of contemporary poetry. Gub is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and one of the most moving. It parses the ironies, contradictions and shortcomings of the working-class Belfast I know with moments of incredible beauty. There is nothing else like this in Irish poetry. A lyrical savant of the highest level, and one of the most exciting writers in Ireland today, McKendry is utterly his own beast
Stephen Sexton, author of IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG
Scott McKendry's poems are exhilarants; richly textured, gregarious, sublimely sophisticated. The extraordinary ambit of his language ... is interwoven, irrevocably, with its pleasures. Gub, as noun, carries the trace of its verb: it is gastronomic and discerning, but it makes no bones about how the sausage is made. And rather than bend the local to the universe, the universe is drawn to these poems: migratory geese, the Flintstones, the small delinquencies of childhood and teenhood. And the author's new orthography for his 'Belfastois'. Gub is a world you don't know and don't know you know. In the company of these magisterial, unique, frequently hilarious poems, you'll wonder where you've been
Ian Duhig, author of THE BLIND ROADMAKER
[Gub] is exhilarating: I think of Blake's 'Energy is an Eternal Delight' but it comes here with tremendous sophistication, flair and originality
Susannah Dickey, author of TENNIS LESSONS
What makes McKendry's work so interesting, so important, is how he captures, with anecdotal specificity, one anabranch of somewhere that all too often has its stories told for it. Gub avoids homogeneity of experience, but this virtue is secondary to the collection's scansion, wit, and hypnogogic deployment of language. McKendry understands that a place's lexicon can become conative, indifferent and even deleterious to its speakers' intentions ... He fishes from a polymathic frame of reference, and the result is poetry that reaches far beyond a place's geographical parameters, achieving a complex North Belfast psychogeography. This collection is sharp, maximalist, and phonetically and formally buoyant.
Sunday Times Ireland
'In a distinctive and energetic voice, McKendry explores Northern Irish life and topics like class and generational trauma'
Louise Kennedy, bestselling author of TRESPASSES
Gub is unlike anything I have ever read. In a playful demotic that is exhilarating, hilarious and never forced, Scott McKendry makes magic of a Belfast that in other hands would make grim reading. From surreal, almost fabulous - in its purest sense - encounters with birds and animals, to trippy interrogations of identity and tradition, he makes the most surprising connections. If there is sometimes the sense that no one is more surprised than McKendry - one poem is subtitled 'Somehow after Cezanne' - this should not be confused with a lack of confidence; these poems have a formal elegance so assured as to feel utterly organic. The most exciting poet to come out of the north of Ireland in many years
Irish Times
[GUB] comes with the buzz that normally accompanies a hot first novel. Rooted in the language of working-class Belfast, it tackles generational trauma, social decay and the rituals of a place with a fraught history and an uncertain future
Graeme Richardson, Sunday Times
[McKendry] blazes onto the poetry scene with this debut. Linguistically, it's a box of fireworks, fizzing and popping... Gobby Gub has the gift of the gab