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Susie Wild

Better Houses

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'These poems are spells whose words bewitch the ordinary and transform the objects and routines of our human world with their word-magic.' – Gillian Clarke

'The world shifts and transforms itself in these subtly disconcerting poems: words into bees, surgical stitches into mascaraed eyelashes, a fossil oyster into a lover's toenails. The effect can be darkly sinister or exuberantly witty, but it's always new and refreshing. This is an exciting and assured poetic debut.' – Matthew Francis 

‘Susie Wild writes with poise and precision about the places we inhabit, casting a benevolent spell over her reader.’ – Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch

'The voice is concentrated, urgent; the material is often tender, even domestic. There is no contradiction in this. The poems come from raw edges of the spaces between people, and a sense of how provisional the tender things can be.' – Philip Gross

'Poems carefully built to be inhabited.' – Cynan Jones

'Susie Wild’s Better Houses announces a new, highly distinctive and exciting poetic voice. [...] The author’s balance between opening the door for the reader, and then hitting them with the poem’s highly original approach to language and a slightly slant way of looking at the world, make these poems highly entertaining and rewarding. [...] an accomplished and auspicious debut...' – Jonathan Edwards, Ink Sweat & Tears

'reels gorgeously from a restaurant to the seashore to the night sky [...] an unfinished journey through the experiences and signs that tell us we're home.' – Elizabeth Edwards, Planet International

'exuberant and smart [...] Half-remembered, half-invented, but wholly charismatic.' – Sophie Baggott, Wales Arts Review

'Wild clearly has a sense of fun. Her poem, "Pub Crawl Date" – cataloguing a nine-pint epic evening out – had me chuckling out loud. So too, ‘The Bed Testers’. But, in my view, Wild is at her best when she is more serious and, to this end, there were several stand-out poems. [...] Similarly, there is a Plath-like forensic quality to ‘The Lash Museum’ which I also really enjoyed. It opens with "A gutsy Cornish wind / slammed the caravan door shut, / skinning a birthmark, / my head / a blood fountain." The poem’s protagonist is then raced to hospital for attention and when the stitches are removed, she keeps them as morbid reminders of her pain: "clumped lashes a-flutter / in a plastic pot."' – New Welsh Review

'As the title hints, Susie Wild’s book Better Houses touches on some of the pressing concerns of the era (the housing crisis, social inequality). In "Gentrifying the Area" she reflects on the rate of change ("three short months") that puts "tumbledown terraces" "on / the up, like the house prices". The poet reflects on her part in the process. She presents herself as the artist type whose cultivation of an area increases its value [...] Forced out in search of lower rent, the poem ends: "There are worse ways to be going, going / gone." It’s an interesting angle to take and reflects the book’s insistence to make the most of things, being whimsically enthused or tuttingly aggrieved with one’s (always temporary) lot in life.' – Edward Doegar, Poetry Wales

'Perhaps this is the message she wants to leave us with, the importance of opening doors and allowing for reintegration within an individual as well as across relationships through decency and kindness. Readers of all types will find something marvellous here.' – Mary Jacob, Gwales


This lively first collection from Susie Wild introduces a poet with a nomadic spirit. She tramps with humour, love, and loss across the UK, even the globe, seeking a place to call home.

Better Houses charts the move from childhood to adult life with wit and wonder. In a state of constant displacement, the poems flit from tents and gypsy caravans to boarding school, to lodgings and house sitting. The collection offers a half-remembered, half-invented life of pub crawl dates and doors slamming, as the narrators fall in and out of love and a life packing and unpacking boxes. 

These poems hunt fossils and comets, escape fires and great white sharks, consider life on other planets, and prophesize white witches. In Wild’s playful, offbeat take on the mundane world, beds and language barriers are tested, areas are gentrified, lawns are mown, and heart rates checked.


Susie Wild is author of the short story collection The Art of Contraception listed for the Edge Hill Prize, and the novella Arrivals. Her writing appears in publications like Poetry Digest, The Lonely Crowd, Wales Arts Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Lampeter Review, and Rising. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Swansea University and an MA in Journalism from Goldsmiths. Awarded a place on Ty Newydd’s poetry masterclass, she has studied creative writing with Gillian Clarke and Imtiaz Dharker. She was writer in residence at the Mothership, Dorset, and her poems have been an Ink Sweat & Tears Pick of the Month, and a First Thursday performance winner.  She has performed her poems at events like the Glastonbury Festival, Hay Festival, Cardiff Book Festival, the Green Man Festival, the Laugharne Weekend and the Dylan Weekend. Her recent multimedia commission, ‘Sex Change Disco,’ in collaboration with artist Beth Greenhalgh, was performed at madeinroath and Cardiff Contemporary 2016. Born in London, she has moved from Cornwall and Devon to Swansea and Bristol. These days she lives in a Cardiff garret where she is writing her next book. 

Twitter: @Soozerama

Blog: Wildlife

2018 Gig Dates

FEBRUARY
17 – New Poets Showcase, Seren/Cornerstone's Poetry Festival, Cardiff, 11am, £5
21 – Guest Feature, The Murenger, Newport, 7.30pm, £3
MARCH
14 – Guest Feature, Satellite of Love, The Greenbank, Easton, Bristol, 8.30pm, free 
31 – Milieu VIII, Flute and Tankard, Cardiff, 7pm, free
APRIL
7 – The Forecourt Fringe, Laugharne, 11am-12noon, £10 day, £25 w/end
7 – The Bookbus, The Laugharne Weekend, 1.30pm, free
8 – The Forecourt Fringe, Laugharne, 11am-3pm, £10 day, £25 w/end
22 – The Melville Centre, Abergavenny, 11.30am, £8
MAY
18 – Penned on the Bont, Carnegie House, Bridgend, 7.30pm  £5 Celebrating 100 years of the Women's Vote with Gillian Clarke, Rufus Mufasa, Rhian Edwards and More!
JUNE
9 – Llansteffan Literary Festival

2017 Gig Dates
SEPTEMBER
20 – Penned on the Bont, Carnegie House, Bridgend, 7pm, £4 on the door
21 – HOWL, Mozarts, Swansea, 9pm, free entry
22 – Poetry Showcase, Cardiff Book Festival, Prince of Wales Suite, The Angel Hotel, 7pm, Tickets £5 / £3 in advance from www.cardiffbookfestival.co.uk
30 – Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair, London (stall/signing only)
OCTOBER
5 – First Thursday, Chapter, Cardiff, 7.30pm, £2.50 on the door
17 – Literary House Party, madeinroath festival, Cardiff, free entry
20 – Penarth Acoustic Club, Cons Club, Penarth, 7.30pm, £7 in advance, £8 on the door
27 – Dylan's Birthday, The Beginning festival, Dylan's Birthplace, Swansea
31 – Berkeley Square Poetry Revue, Bristol, 8.30pm, £2 on the door
NOVEMBER
4 – Do Not Go Gentle Festival, Swansea 
25 - The Wheatsheaf, Fitzrovia, London 2-8pm (Hostess and headliner, Parthian pop-up festival)
30 – The Full Moon, Cardiff 
DECEMBER
1 – Can Openers, The Station, Silver St, Bristol, 12.30pm
7 – Brown's Poems & Pints, Brown's Hotel, Laugharne, 7.30pm