Guppy Primer
post this publication to Email facebook twitter LinkedIn

Guppy Primer

32  |  9781910367803

Price: £5

Ruth McIlroy was a winner of The Poetry Business International Book and Pamphlet Competition 2016/17, judged by Ian Duhig and Mimi Khalvati


This debut by Ruth McIlroy ranges between poems of fierce lyricism, off-kilter observation and deadpan humour. From the sinister comedy of the title poem, Guppy Primer, to the startling strangeness of 'after a dream', and the savage wit of 'I am not honest', these tender, hard and amused poems are an uncompromising celebration of ardency and badly-behaved language.


Guppy Primer’s distinctive humour triumphantly demonstrates the fallacy of the notion of a “competition winning collection” with its daring and originality. By turning her poems' themes and motifs through fresh new language, narratives and scenarios, Ruth McIlroy proves that originality - not formula - mean that we can expect to see her name on more prize lists in the future.  - Ian Duhig


Ruth McIlroy grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and in Edinburgh, and now lives with her family in Yorkshire where she works as a freelance psychotherapist. She’s a Quaker, and loves the idea of her literary forerunners stomping the North of England declaiming the vital necessities of silence and right speech. She does the Endcliffe parkrun most Saturdays and sometimes a 10k. Her poems have appeared in The Rialto, The North, and the Templar Poets Anthology. In 2015 she was highly commended in the East Riding Philip Larkin Poetry Prize, and in 2017 she gained second place in the York Literature Festival Poetry Competition.

More by Ruth McIlroy

The author(s) have no other publications from smith|doorstop

Tweets from the Poetry Business

poetrybusiness "Now and again a book arrives that is so at ease with itself, it’s as if it has always existed. Like the best pubs,…

1 day ago via Hootsuite

Your cart is currently empty
Arts Council England - National Portfolio Organisation

Inpress Books