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Kate North

The Way Out

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'The language is muscular, the voice commanding, while the subject matter considers the cruel joke of mortality through very tangible and physical descriptions. In such a landscape, the body becomes an undiscovered country, relationships are unsteady, and place is viewed as if through a kind of vertigo. Whatever the direction in The Way Out, there is always movement inwards, through, and out in the world.' – Zoë Brigley

The way out of the title isn't an exit – more like being outbound on a journey. The destination of each poem, whether in another country or at home, in the past or in the body itself, is to be entirely, physically present. As one poem says, “The way out is here.”’ – Philip Gross

'This inquisitive collection roams into the spaces we can't reach – the lungs, the liver – and those we think we know: back gardens and parks, the distances between people. The mysteries of the body offer ways into the mysteries of human relationships, and back out again as families mourn and re-make themselves, landscapes invite and consume. A book of transitions, The Way Out is always moving, offering fresh perspectives with wry humour and unsettling angles.' – Katherine Stansfield

'a pleasure to hold in mind, sweet and salt with a sharp aftertaste, somewhat disquieting, and more of a pleasure for that.' – Stephen Payne

'Kate North's The Way Out offers a similar insight into the mutual dependencies of bodily repression and community belonging, in what is undoubtedly the most assured voice of the works discussed here. [...] the enduring theme of the collection is of existential crises induced by medical trauma. We encounter images of bodies being thrown into being and snatching at autonomy [...] there is an inverse aestheticisation at play here: the imagery is masking a reality rather than bringing it closer to us, and the trauma is brought into focus at the same time as we are distanced from it. [..] Like Neruda's "I'm explaining a few things", North sets out her craft and the descriptive capacity of poetry, but then invites us to contemplate the dilemma of all morally and aesthetically perceptive poets: how to write of the beautiful when all that's observed is mostly horror. In North we have a similar particular/universal interplay we've seen in the other works discussed here, but taken one step further into a discussion of the nature and purpose of poetry itself.' – Gareth Leaman, Poetry Wales


The Way Out offers entertaining, poignant and funny poems. A fresh and contemporary voice addressing the personal, the political, the everyday and the absurd. Kate North’s second collection shows that the only way to harness the future is to live one's choices with assuredness in the present. Sharp observations of addiction, illness and loss rub shoulders with celebrations of the body, exploration of the world and the value of loving relationships.

Kate North was born in Glasgow in 1978 and moved to her family hometown of Cardiff soon after. She studied English in Aberystwyth (BA) then Creative Writing in East Anglia (MA) and Cardiff (PhD). Kate is currently the Programme Director of the MA English Literature and Creative Writing pathways at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has previously published a novel, Eva Shell (Cinnamon Press, 2008) and a poetry collection Bistro (Cinnamon Press, 2012).