Selfie with Waterlilies

(5 customer reviews)


Selfie with Waterlilies won the Paper Swans Press 2017 Poetry Pamphlet Prize

From the intriguing opening poem Turkish Delight to the brutal honesty of the closing one, Appeasement, Paul Stephenson takes us on a journey which, whilst being rooted in familial and everyday experiences such as meals, travel, childhood and teenage angst, takes surreal twists and turns, wrapped up in a playful, yet crafted, joy in language. The issue of parental loss overarches but with a sideways glance that never means this rests heavy-handedly in the pamphlet. In a self-referential age, the ‘Selfie’ of the title is not overly intrusive and the ‘Me reflected from above’ (a phrase from the title poem) could be any one of us reflected from above, ‘seeing blue’. These are poems of the familiar yet exotic, of home and abroad, of Uncle Ben’s Rice and Baklava, of Rotherhithe and Russia, of seething and soothing – so ‘buckle and tighten’ (Waistcoat of Life) and enjoy the ride.

Editor: Jill Munro

ISBN 978-0-9931756-8-8 • 36 pages.




Out of stock

SKU: 978-0-9931756-8-8 Category:

5 reviews for Selfie with Waterlilies

  1. Sarah

    There’s so much to admire and enjoy in Paul Stephenson’s Selfie with Waterlilies. I love his gymnastic approach to language and the way the imagination is taken not so much for a walk, but on a mystery tour de force! Witty and playful, serious and sad, these exquisitely crafted poems made me wonder and smile.

    Maggie Sawkins, Winner of the Ted Hughes Award, 2013

  2. Sarah

    Paul Stephenson’s Selfie with Waterlilies takes us on a journey through the intricacies and contradictions of family life, interwoven with evocations of places, people, scents and arresting visual images. A rare and felicitous compound of real poetic craft, dazzling intelligent play with words and sounds, and penetrating flashes of insight, refracted through the lens of Stephenson’s poetic vision as suggested by the title poem. A real delight.

    Susan Castillo Street
    Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emeria
    King’s College London

  3. Sarah

    Paul Stephenson’s poems show his meticulous eye for detail and re-assuring confidence in dealing with his subjects. This collection is rich in variety, invention, and imaginative scope. A satisfying balance has been achieved, with pieces highlighting linguistic playfulness and humour sitting comfortably beside poems of quiet tenderness that are both memorable and emotionally resonant.

    Roy Marshall

  4. Michael Brown

    His poetry often makes me smile. He does things with relatively simple language choices that are layered or nuanced beneath the veneer. I think his writing is original and completely “his ” by which I mean he has created a distinctive voice for which some of us might strive for decades

  5. Sarah

    Paul Stephenson’s poems are immediate and intense. He works with words as a blacksmith might, each one has the accuracy of a hammer blow hitting an emotional nail head. This collection is often moving, often humorous. The way that Stephenson explores the loss of a parent and the myth making of parental lives with such confidence and certainty is the way of someone who knows what they want to say, and how to say it. It is a worthy winner of the Paper Swans pamphlet competition.

    Wendy Pratt

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