Reviews

  • The most impressive debut collection of the year so far: beautiful, sincere and unexpectedly heartbreaking

    Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph
  • An astonishing debut...The writing itself hardly draws breath; it's crowded and confident in range and depth...If poetry is "about" anything, then If All the World is about cancer, bereavement, family life, natural and material worlds and the nature of memory. Despite this range it is quite astonishingly through-composed....it is a book to gulp down at one sitting, then to return to, to savour

    The Guardian
  • A poetry debut fit to compare with Seamus Heaney. This wonderful long poem is up there with the greats...A wonderful piece of writing

    The Times
  • Every poem in this book is a marvel. Taken all together they make up a work of almost miraculous depth and beauty

    Sally Rooney
  • The best poetry of the year so far

    Sunday Times
  • Stephen Sexton's collection If All the World and Love Were Young has a playful quality and a lightness of touch that he somehow combines with the jagged-ness of grief to make a sequence of poems that is very fresh and eerily beautiful. It is clear from the first lines that this is a debut of significance, one that achieves a most difficult balancing act between wildness and control.

    Kevin Barry, New Statesman Books of the Year
  • There's virtuosity aplenty in Stephen Sexton's poetry debut If All the World and Love Were Young, too. Imagery and emotion interweave in a work of astonishing maturity by the young Northern Irish poet, whose impressive new voice promises to help refresh contemporary verse.

    Fiona Sampson, New Statesman Books of the Year
  • Poignant, playful yet disarmingly sincere, it's the year's best debut

    Tristram Fane Saunders, Telegraph Books of the Year
  • This is an extraordinary, moving collection of poems whose dense, constrained forms are the forms the intellect takes when it is coping; the self takes when it can, as it must; when the subject envelopes. This book is as rich and sustaining, as memorable and inimitable as is the loved one's voice. You will follow it across the Causeway, into the beached whale in Donegal, into the pixelated hyacinths and the heavy rain. With the munificent vocabulary of Alan Gillis and the gut-punched wisdom of Anne Sexton and Denise Riley, the speaker claims: 'I tried to make a monument from the emptiness of the house.' Sexton has made a monument. Readers: crowd around it.

    Caoilinn Hughes