hydrohotel.net - a Richard Price webspace

Small World, Carcanet, 2012

"A work of genius" -- Louise Welsh.

"That hoarding of the precious before it's gone, not only for the parent but for the child who will inherit the memory, the story, is beautifully achieved, as is the unbridgeable distance between parent and child."
-- Tony Williams.

"It is the sense of the spaciousness of Price’s language that I particularly came to admire in this book. In his longer poems there is a roominess: nothing is easily locked down into simple structures; the complexity of thought and sensation is given room to be fully expressed, not simplified, yet remain accessible. I might call what Richard Price has achieved the new personal."
-- Caroline Clark.

Small World"

Rays, Carcanet, 2009

Emerging from a restless, sleepless landscape that is half personal, half state-of-the-nation, the love poems in Rays create a dreamy island between the solace of haiku and the precisions of Emily Dickinson. Price conjures the Renaissance poet Louise Labé and an imaginary band, The Loss Adjusters, to deliver a lyrical work of wit and depth: from sonnet through canzone to strange, shimmering new forms, Rays is an astonishingly accomplished exploration of love and desire.

"Love is the subject of Price's third collection, Rays. He opens with an antic sizzle: a reworking of [Shakespeare's] Sonnet XVIII in which he manages the scarcely credible feat of taking on the Bard and holding his own, coming up with a closing couplet ("So long as folk can breathe or eyes can see / so this will live, and this gives life to you and me.") that actually expands on the original. After this, however, the bulk of the poems are distillations; seekings-out of the essence of the words that we use to describe love. Insomnia is a recurring motif, and there is a flavour here of those moments on the edge of consciousness where words fall into each other and sense is derived as much from sound and rhythm as it is from meaning. In the beautiful 'Langour's whispers" words slide and elide to create the lush eroticism of lines such as "Touch, and touch's could-be / deep shallows, lap / and kiss, sense-sipping lips, / finger-tips." In Price's poetry, as in love, language hovers on the brink of dissolution." -- Sarah Crown, Poetry Review

David Wheatley in The Guardian acclaims this "intensely tactile poet", these "exquisite snapshots of the natural world", these poems "with a fire-work fizz of urgency in their tail". [Read full review]

"If you find yourselves up in the small hours reading these poems, Price’s stoical, beautiful, illogical meditations on the condition will keep you company." -- Julia Bird reviews Rays in Poetry London

"Last year a talented poet friend of mine was short-listed for the Michael Marks pamphlet award and I went along to hear her and the other contenders read. Richard Price gave a wonderful speech about the importance of the pamphlet as a form for poetry, its great tradition of showcasing a poet’s work, the fact that the pamphlet has a sense of limitation, distilment, condensation that makes it quite distinctive. Price is a champion of the form and some of the nine sections in Rays began their lives as limited edition pamphlets. Though the sections have subtle, echoing relationships between one another, there is a sense of each as a particular poetic space. This is a particular strength of the collection, allowing it to feel startlingly fresh and alive, but also because the reader gets the sense of a poet that is interested in poetry as a collaborative endeavour. Pamphlets are lovingly created and this is a collective process, they are often the result of more than one artist getting together to explore an idea, they are attentive to the materiality of reading and of language itself. All of this is apparent in Price’s work.[...] As the collection moves on, it seems to me that love becomes its real focus. Not a simply understood or clichéd version of love, but love in all it’s quirky, witty and infuriating guises. The poems become spare, beautiful distillations and the reader feels as though they are walking into an apothecary’s shop, sniffing and tasting tiny bottles of essences of thought, idea, feeling.[...] Price has a voice of his own, which comes through in all the work, but his generosity and lack of ego as a poet allow him to speak through and with others, to translate, to empathise. Price is a poet who listens, and this makes his work sing." -- Abi Curtis reviews Rays on Eyewear

"Richard Price is, by far, the most gifted Scottish poet of his generation and he gets better book by beguiling book. Rays has wit, emotional depth, lyrical intensity, technical assurance, all enviably and uniquely present." -- Donny O'Rourke, Books of the Year, The Scotsman

Read From the moment | Like a student gardener | Ties | Dippers | Darkness and Dazzle
Hear At Archive of the Now | Poetcasting |
The Poetry Library | Mirabeau

Out-take #1 Sweetcorn
Out-take #2 Foundry conversion
Out-take #3 Frank O'Hara was a curator

little but often, design by Ronald King, Circle Press, 2008

"May I suggest we both invest / in a high-frisk mutual trust" - Richard Price and Ronald King meet again in the artist's book with a witty text-object about desire, loneliness, and anger (so just small talk, really? I think not.).

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Greenfields, Carcanet, 2007


Shortlisted for the Sundial Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year

-- containing "one of the great love poems in English in recent times" - Simon Smith, PN Review

Sample poems:

The Kirstys [text]
Open the Paper Window [text]
Stopper [text]

Earliest Spring Yet, Landfill Press, 2006

Sample poem: "Dippers"
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"Modern love in 17 lyrics" - Jeremy Noel-Tod.

Lute Variations by Louise Labé, with improvisations by Richard Price, Rack Press, 2006

Louise Labé was born in the 1520s, the daughter of a well-to-do ropemaker in Lyon. She learned Latin and Italian and could play the lute. She was married in her teens or early twenties to a much older man, also part of the Lyon bourgeoisie and rope-making industry. Her nickname, La Belle Cordière, translates as the beautiful wife of a ropemaker. From the 1540s Labé was part of the city's literary scene, and when her collection of poems was published in 1555 it was followed within a year by at least three further printings. Her sonnets are witty and passionate. In this collection two of her sonnets are each accompanied by a set of English improvisations by Richard Price.

"a classic pamphlet" - Matthew Jarvis, Planet

Sorry, out of print! Will be collected in a later Carcanet volume...

Sample poem: "From the moment" from Lute Variations

Lucky Day, Carcanet, 2005

Lucky Day

Shortlisted for Whitbread Poetry Prize

"This is a felicitous gathering of Richard Price's unusual, poignant and funny poetry, which has been appearing in chapbooks, magazines and beautiful small-press volumes for more than a decade. They are clear, witty, intelligent, versatile and often highly moving; superb examples of a hard-earned surface simplicity conveying oceanic depths of feeling and thought. His lyric sequence "Hand Held", about a daughter with learning difficulties, is a masterpiece of spare, hesitant, minimal language. Price excels at rendering and exploiting the pregnant pauses and telling gaps in human speech." - Robert Potts, The Guardian

Readers encountering in real life the kind of challenges described in the "Hand Held" sequence within Lucky Day may wish to consult one or more Severe Learning Disabilities organisations.

Sample poems: "Big Bang research" from Lucky Day

Frosted, Melted, Diehard, 2002

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"A lyrical collection which explores family and memory. Price's imagery is electric, with a capacity to integrate phrases from supposedly non-poetic sources to great effect." - S. B. Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

This is one of the books in which the Hydro Hotel appears, the location the unnamed "Renfrewshwhere". The first sequence especially, "Green Field Site", is a companion-piece to the elliptical novel A Boy in Summer

Renfrewshire in Old Photographs (with Raymond Friel), Mariscat, 2000

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Although the Hydro Hotel doesn't actually appear in this book, the location is again as much "Renfrewshwhere" as Renfrewshire. Raymond Friel contributes the first half of the book, focusing on Greenock and Port Glasgow. Later poems by Friel, collected in Stations of the Heart (Salt, 2008), add a Kilmacolm interest.

Perfume & Petrol Fumes, Diehard, 1999

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"A recurrent theme is relationships of family and sex, where, as in life, what is not said, or half said, is as important as what is actually said, and the gaps, the repetitions, the phrases skating off into silence, the catspaw punctuation are deployed with great skill to keep a reader's mind active in tracing the tingly cataclysmic moves of love and anxiety." - Edwin Morgan, Poetry Review

Tube Shelter Perspective, Southfields, 1993

"Richard Price's Tube Shelter Perspective is a startling and often surreal collection of poems, a verbal strut." Hayden Murphy, Times Educational Supplement Scotland. This sequence is revised and collected in Greenfields.

Sense and a Minor Fever, with illustrations by Peter Robinson, Vennel Press, 1993

"Price can be provocative and surprising. He reverses norms and poetic expectations. At all times we must be alert to minute perceptions. There is a range and wealth of emotional substance in this volume." - Scottish Book Collector

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