Sarah Fletcher

Chosen by Andrew McMillan as winner of The New Poets Prize 2016/17


Sarah Fletcher is an American-British poet currently living in London. Her poetry has been published in The Rialto, the London Magazine, and the Morning Star. She has been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and a two-time recipient of the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize. Her first pamphlet, Kissing Angles, was published by Dead Ink Books in 2015 and was shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. 

These are arresting, often uncomfortable poems which explore the intersections of physicality, violence and disgust. These poems never allow the reader to rest easy, they ask us to interrogate our most shameful thoughts, and through witty surrealism ask us to look afresh at everyday encounters. — Andrew McMillan 


Walking the knife-edge between disclosure and mystery, Typhoid August captures the inner life as much as the outer… Fletcher’s work is astute on love, transgression and rejection even while in free-fall; a narrative voice which is wounded, even in shock, but fully alive. A concise but complex sequence that hints at a novel’s worth of emotional fall-out and condenses it into sixteen poems … The associative leaps, imagistic intensity and wordplay are heart-rendingly focused. – Luke Kennard

Typhoid August simmers with sustained tension, articulating a world where power relationships are in constant flux and even-footing is never guaranteed. This collection interrogates the diseased body politic, going further than Fletcher's debut Kissing Angles, to push themes of control and dominance to their philosophical and linguistic heights. Unrelenting in its gaze, Typhoid August finds abjection in unlikely places and forces the reader to place themselves in relation to their violent vision.


from Typhoid August


In a stranger’s house              she waltzes with my boyfriend 

to Mahler   and tells me about emotional labour  and that I’m so much younger


Her name is so moneyed      I could call her Lulu or Allegra and she’d

respond                       When she is tired of waltzing            she twists


her arms around Peter     who is passing out on the sofa     and says

she can tell I don’t trust other women                 no darling     just you


Her voice is a wire coat-hanger                 I hang what I want on it          

but now      the gin stinging my teeth                  I just want her to admit 


she’s taken dance lessons    and who paid for them      She dresses beautifully    

like the girl who bullied the school shooter      and in another life


we get cappuccinos and she tells me what sex with my boyfriend is like

focusing mainly on the lingerie she wore       and how she wouldn’t let


him touch her until she could tell he was so hot             he would 

come immediately when he could    and I’ve never seen a smile so white


as when she tells me how she washed the semen from his stomach

in the porcelain sink           and how many times he said sorry


Titles by this author

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