Popular Song

Harry Man


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Nine Arches Press
25 April 2024
ISBN: 9781913437909
72 pages

From the publisher

Popular Song, the eagerly awaited debut from Harry Man, is an electric adventure into science, science fiction, poetry and pop culture. Here we encounter the Invisible Man’s search for meaning, traverse time and space through the music of David Bowie, find Wordsworth water-skiing with a clownfish, Ed Sheeran’s superabundant love of typography, and find a new connection with our past by re-watching The Empire Strikes Back in reverse. 

This collection captures both the unearthly beauty of supermarket night shifts and the peculiar dreamscapes of birds of the British Isles – as well as how the term ‘popular’ has the potential to both unite and divide, to move from current obsession to obsolescence and nostalgia. These poems connect with a wonder-filled verbal and melodic energy, considering both the fragility of our position on Earth as well as the hold of our intimacy while we are still bound by its gravity. Playful and cosmic, Popular Song is a jukebox filled with new favourites, beckoning readers out onto the dancefloor of the literary, the unexpected, and the joyful. 


Praise for Popular Song:

'Full of real, tangible objects, historical detail, pop culture glitter canons, flora and fauna, sci-fi locales and uncelebrated spaces … Poems that are frequently tremendously funny and inventive in their processes … beautiful, frightening and convincing.’ – Luke Kennard

‘From treetops to the edge of space, passing through Wordsworth and Schwarzenegger, Harry Man breaks our world apart, then puts it back together in an utterly unique way. In Popular Song you will discover ballads of baleful yet still hopeful futures, sadnesses commingled with a brimful of winning perkiness, an Oulipian, playful generosity that says: sure, life is deadly; let’s have some fun with it. And this is all wrapped up in a riot of exuberant language, that lobs Molotov cocktails of joy into your brain. It’s a giant, wondrous exclamation mark of a book.’ – Rishi Dastidar

‘From gentle-urgent ecstasies of birdsong to marvelling associative ragequits, Popular Song shows Harry Man at his tricksy, attuned best. Catchiness, prediction and heartbreak all find their place in this jukebox of a collection.’ – Eley Williams

‘Harry Man's Popular Song is an elegant hymn of aftermath, sung to an Earth so populated and floundering in lost projects that it dreams only of other worlds. Its bewitching voice is that of a dignified lonely watcher, a haunted witness, a lyrical Wall-E with only time left to talk to. Moving and memorable.’ - Glyn Maxwell