Hysterical by Keshia Starrett


  • Image of Hysterical by Keshia Starrett

2016 Poetry Rivals Winner Keshia Starrett's debut pamphlet negotiates the difficulties of her upbringing in poems that delight in taking ordinary phrases and placing them in unsettling contexts. There is anger, power, and compassion in how the poems address parenthood, addiction, and blame.

`Keshia's work is intelligent and strong. She writes about love and loss with such coolness. This book has all the strength and guts of being human. The kind of book to read in the bath with a big glass of red wine.' - Laurie Bolger

`These poems are seeds, they bury into your heart, into your head and bloom there. They insist on getting under your skin. Keshia acknowledges the pain of learning and growing with a bewitching clarity. A stunning debut. It feels alive - if you listen closely you can almost hear it breathe.' - Malaika Kegode

`These poems know the difference absolution and erasure and Hysterical registers situations which the poet can neither absolve nor erase. Family dramas are spliced with historical allusions and a surreal imaginative ability. It all makes for a memorable debut.' - John McAuliffe

Keshia Starrett is 23 and is from Derry, Ireland. She now lives in Leeds where she is creating a series of conceptual poems about mental health for her PhD. She received her MA from the University of Manchester. Her poetry has been published in a variety of magazines and journals, and she performs at open mic nights and other events around England and Ireland. In 2016 Keshia won Poetry Rivals and has been awarded a publishing deal with Burning Eye Books.