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Robert Powell

Robert Powell was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, and now lives in York. He has worked for many years in the fields of journalism, photography, the arts and urbanism, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

He has published two collections of poetry, Harvest of Light (Stone Flower, 2007) and All (Valley Press, 2015), as well as an artist’s book and exhibition, A Small Box of River (2016) in collaboration with artist Jake Attree. A third collection, Riverain, is due for release this month. He won the 2012 Elmet Prize judged by Kathleen Jamie, and his poems and stories have appeared in Acumen, Dream Catcher, Orbis, The North and The Rialto.

In 2017, he wrote and co-produced, with Ben Pugh, The River Speaks, a short film funded by the Canal & River Trust ‘Arts on the Waterways’ programme.



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Six years in the making, All is the second collection of poetry by Canadian-born, Yorkshire-based writer Robert Powell.

With one of the most precise, committed voices currently at work in the UK, Powell considers the individual moments that make up our lives and histories; whether in nature, in human interaction, or within the worlds of art and spirituality – the fragments that make up our ‘all’.

These poems are both fragile and robust, touching and unsparing. His work is informed by a transatlantic sensibility that combines the best of North American and British
approaches to verse, whilst also paying tribute to the unique art form that is European poetry in translation.

Composed of three mesmerising sequences, All is the best showcase yet for a wonderful and unique literary talent; poetry that is easy to start reading and difficult to stop.


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In Riverain, poet Robert Powell takes us on a journey through reality and metaphor, partly inspired by the two rivers that meet in his adopted home city of York: the Ouse and Foss.

Sometimes dreamlike, combining gravity and humour with the personal and the political, this diverse and deeply visual collection moves with a strong narrative flow, taking in love, mortality, family, consumerism, literature and art as it goes.

Subtly moored by its theme, this is a mature, engaging collection from a poet unafraid to chart a course through purposefully ambiguous tributaries.

Launching on the river Ouse itself, as part of York Literature Festival, from 5.30pm March 23rd. Details and tickets here.

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