A warm and snouting thing dances delicately between the sizzle of sex and the ambiguous stability of commitment and family. These poems emphasise the physicality, not only of desire, but of the human and natural worlds which surround and shape it. Herdman’s voice is always precise, even at moments of the most brazen intimacy.
There are tales of teenage self-confidence and adultery averted – but there is space here, too, for a settled life with a salad spinner, and a long-term lover’s belly. The poet skilfully negotiates the twin pulls of the familiar and the unknown, generating a forceful and compelling charge from the energy of flight resisted.
“Ramona Herdman’s ‘A Warm and Snouting Thing’ is also good on carnal desire and delight, as well as the sexual politics, hazards and humiliations that have a habit of accompanying them. Gloriously unbuttoned about lots of things – ferns, armpit hair, eyebrows or cigarettes, and indeed the way buttons can be “luscious as sex” – Herdman’s verse and voice confront the reader with a rare, unapologetic gusto. – The Times Literary Supplement
‘Here, language is like the body—sprawling, unpredictable, dangerous—but ultimately given poise and control through humour, acuity and self-awareness.’ – Sabotage Reviews
Watch Ramona Herdman read from A warm and snouting thing: