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  • It's a rare thing to come across a debut collection as cohesive and accomplished as Rotten Days in Late Summer. Whether writing on love, class, illness, the working life, death or the complex and multi-faceted nature of human desire, Ralf Webb is never less than razor-sharp. With a storyteller's flair, he evokes a world of shifting terrains in which 'anything could be an omen', and where refrains, motifs, stanza shapes and rhymes call to each other across the pages. In his extraordinary 'Treetops' sequence, Webb navigates the labyrinths of mental illness and the ambiguous prize of health . . . It all feels gloriously, anarchically new

    Julia Copus
  • This is close-range language, magnifying without prejudice both the beautiful and the hard. Ralf Webb's poetry tells the truth of the push-pull of liberation and obligation . . . To work, to care, to mourn, but also to be a poet and queer and . . . dream of a commune in France - this is poetry in the grand tradition of annihilation by desire. It's what the young are always learning, and the old, if they are wise, never forget

    Anne Boyer
  • His poems take on grief and young manhood, and are largely set in England's West Country. 'Accept this cheap and ironclad cynicism,' Webb writes. 'We're not famous. I am completely in love.' The voice in this book is direct and heart-breaking. There's no pretension. It's all heart

    Alex Dimitrov, Oprah Daily
  • Webb's collection concerns captivation and captivity, its dignities and its violences, with frank and alert complexity. Be it in remembered school corridors, the careening horizons of grief or longed-for resolutions within and without desire, he presents the strange within the recognisable and the recognisable within the strange. A careful-bold, important voice in British poetry

    Eley Williams
  • Ralf Webb is an ethnographer of the present. He is interested in everyday life in the extreme. What we find is that "There is a goodness here, somewhere, there is sense in struggle." Equal parts ode, litany, and menace, Rotten Days in Late Summer opens us up to the agon of the new century

    Peter Gizzi

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