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Paul Mills - reviews and comment

Ted Hughes on Half Moon Bay
It rewards and withstands a lot of rereading. What I especially like is the rather apprehensive feeling that absolutely anything can happen… that means great freedom – and a lot of provisional or mental imaginative systems, a big kit of metaphysical templates. His poems are genuine flying machines – bits and pieces of half the world in the rigging – but they take off, and have that sort of beauty which works in the world, and is meant to.

Paul Munden on Dinosaur Point, from P N Review
Mature, philosophical and adventurous work… Paul Mills strikes me as one of the few poets writing today who is fully prepared not to play safe. Deeply (if also mischievously) questioning.

Ian Parks on Dinosaur Point , from Poetry Quarterly Review
Dinosaur Point gives ample demonstration of Mills's gifts for uncovering emotional clarity from complex situations and exploring it in a language at once accessible, approachable, and very often moving. A poet writing at the height of his powers, confident, perceptive, entertaining and assured.

Eric Roberts on Never, in the Yorkshire Post
Mills's background as a poet was the starting-point for this powerful work. His astute use of black comedy leads us into the darker side of human nature. A compelling piece of drama.

Gerald England on Anthology of Gregory Fellows' poetry, eds Debjani Chatterjee and Barry Teb, Sixties Press, from New Hope International
With so many excellent poets it is impossible to do them all justice in a short review but I recommend reading each of them afresh. For me the revelation was Paul Mills, one of the youngest in the group and a poet I had not read before. His writing is on the theme of single fatherhood and he shows us how poetry of the ordinary and everyday can strike us and remain long afterwards in our memory.

Also, an extended comment on the treatment of science in Paul Mills's poetry is included in a chapter 'The Noise of Science' by David Kennedy, in his book New relations, The Refashioning of British Poetry, Seren, 1996. Also see Dinosaur Point in 'On his own work'

On The Routledge Creative Writing Coursebook

Ian Duhig
Paul Mills`s Routledge Creative Writing Coursebook is the rich fruit of his decades of experience in teaching and writing across the whole range of genres. As well as being intensely practical, a great strength of his approach is an utter lack of snobbishness in his using sources that make his point clearly; from Geoffrey Hill to Coronation Street , he knows the material to reach the students and shows them the steps that will take their own writing further. This is not a mere eclecticism, but comprehensive knowledge deployed in the best book I know in this field

Sarah Solway in Writing In Education
The chapters are genre-based, covering Writing as Art, Personal Narrative, Poetry, Fiction, Children`s Fiction, and Drama, and I was impressed by the mix of references from recent newspaper articles, theatre programme notes and interviews with writers, as well as the more usual sources. This gives an up-to-date feel to the discussion, and mirrors what might take place in the classroom, although it does suggest the book will have to be revised over time, (it is apparently somewhere between a second edition and a sequel of Mills`s Writing In Action ). Equally, the use of extracts from works by writers as diverse as Elizabeth Bishop, John Berger, DCB Pierre, Keats, Julia Copus, William Carlos Williams, Sujata Bhatt, V. S. Pritchett and Mark Haddon is bound to introduce its readers, all presumably emerging writers, to new styles and influences – one of the joys of any writing course. 

Kevin McCarron, Roehampton University , in the Times Education Supplement, May 2007.
This book is intended for students on creative writing courses, although the teachers of such courses will also benefit from reading it.

An unusual feature of Mills's book is its eclectic range of references and quotations: in the space of a few pages he refers to the 16th Century English poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, the television soap Coronation Street, and Quentin Tarantino`s film Reservoir Dogs. 

This is a book completely free of snobbery; it is totally focused on the needs of its readers.

Each of the six chapters concludes with sound, practical advice for aspiring writers, and with useful exercises. Even more pragmatically, each of these sections concludes with a page entitled 'Revision and Editing'.

While all six chapters are full of shrewd, economical insights into their subjects, the one devoted to poetry will probably be the most informative and helpful for students of creative writing.

Clearly aware that many of them regard such essential elements of poetry as metre and stress with trepidation or boredom, Mills wisely delays their appearance until near the chapter`s conclusion. Moreover, he performs a valuable service to students with this suggestion: `instead of the usual question: “What does it mean?”, the preferred question should be “How does it speak?"'



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