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Cheryl's Destinies

Cheryl's Destinies


Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection
A Financial Times, Irish Times and Telegraph Book of the Year

history is what we call / what might have happened differently / and didn't

It is the decade of centuries, and Cheryl tells us our fortune. Radicals liberate a zoo, teenagers flirt in a bowling alley, and the dead are cherished. In these inventive, playful, dream-like poems, Stephen Sexton takes us on a journey through the past and the present, while Cheryl translates from the future, showing us how we exist in all three at once.

Reckoning with both public and private tragedies, the book is divided into three parts. In Part One, the poems range across old Europe: 'Edelweiss' and Titanic setting sail, to a transatlantic, cross-century symposium in Part Two, where two giants perfect their arts in collaboration. In Part Three we are back in the land where the past keeps breaking through, it's practically always the anniversary of something terrible, but there's always Cheryl in the moonlight and her deck of tarot cards.

A thrillingly strange exploration of the comfort of the fantastical when the real is hard to bear, Cheryl's Destinies is the enchanting follow-up to the Forward Prize for Best First Collection-winning If All the World and Love Were Young, by one of the most exciting young poets writing today.


  • With poetry for me it's an either/or. Either I can barely read the stuff - which happens most of the time - or it leaves me delirious with the thrill of possibility. Stephen Sexton makes anything seem possible: the simplest things and the most mysterious - which, of course, are one and the same.
    Geoff Dyer

About the author

Stephen Sexton

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