I wrote a poetry pamphlet called Claremont Road, which was published by Erbacce Press in December 2013. Many of the poems are about personal experiences whilst squatting in the road, as well as people I met and the houses I squatted.
Some nice things people have had to say about Claremont Road…
A valuable voyage, tossed and memory-tumbled over the battleground … ‘self-medicated’ visions of entropy and sensual returns.
Commited social rebels sharing their lives with down and outs, the homeless, druggies and drinkers, in a loose-knit, tentative community. Dub rhythms (or what Hawkins calls ‘loose-boned blues’) and personal memories drive this collection along. It’s original and moving and I look forward to seeing where Paul Hawkins’ poetry squats next.
Rupert Loydell (Stride Magazine)
The thirty or so poems in this pamphlet are vignettes of urban life in the 1990s, of grit, pain, love and death, and of resistance and protest. The realism serves up a vivid picture of life on the edge.
Alan Baker (Litter Magazine)
A pamphlet of protest and ‘broken piano lungs’ that showcases Paul Hawkins’ extraordinary range. Both an experimental and unflinching snapshot of a now lost community, Hawkins sure-footedly sidesteps clichés of romantic dilapidation. This is ‘a survival jive’ for our times.
There’s an unflinching, forensic gaze at work here that holds you spellbound; you don’t want to look but can’t help it. This is the heart of darkness in the east end of London during the Thatcher years: depression, addiction, evictions; the tide and time of love, sex, the bitter fight to overcome. Although it is dark, it is not entirely hopeless, there are moments of tenderness and unity that build a barricade against despondency. The poetry is rich and lyrical, with a probing experimentalism that challenges both the subject and the form, from sonnets to collage and found poems. This is a joy-ride of a pamphlet, so strap yourself in and feel the buzz.
Reviews of Claremont Road
published by Erbacce Press (Liverpool 2013)
cover artwork by Sarer Scotthorne