• "There are lines in All One Breath for instance, that brand themselves into your brain with the fire of painful recognition. And yet it is also part of his genius to be ever alert to beauty, too."

    New Statesman, Book of the Year
  • "One of the most charged collections I have read in a long time. [Burnside's] writing is earthed and ethereal – there is a rare equilibrium to it... Breathtaking."

  • "John Burnside is a genius... He is constantly live to alternative possibilities and versions of himself, as close yet unreachable as his own shadow. His responses to the world are so raw, it's as if he's missing a skin – or perhaps the rest of us have grown hides to make life manageable."

    Intelligent Life
  • "Rare and memorable beauty... For all the melancholy of this collection, Burnside is not a nihilist; the glory of these poems shows us that."

  • "Memory and self-reflection merge into elegy... Burnside is a master of the final clinching line... Across the length of whole poems and the whole book there is great wisdom about how people learn to get along with family and with their own past selves, "the backrooms of the heart"; about the limits of self and body; and about how human beings have mistaken and abused the non-human."

    New Statesman