River Wolton is a poet to watch – Moniza Alvi
River’s latest collection is Indoor Skydiving: challenging, contemporary and playful, it explores subjects as diverse as human trafficking and digital-age celebrity with humour, vitality and practical compassion.
The Anglo-French littérateur, Denis Saurat, once wrote that ‘life is that which leaps’, and it was this phrase that recurred in my mind throughout reading River Wolton’s spirited first collection Leap. Wolton’s is a poetry deeply attuned to social awareness and vigilantly aware of injustice wherever it might manifest itself, making her work both inclusive and incisive – words always teeming on the page, as if the poem has a sentience all its own. – The Cadaverine
Her first collection is a single bullet, and its poems are shrapnel. – Stride
‘Leap’ is well-titled; her approach is direct, assertive and her tone, even in the impressively well-written love poems, often acerbic. It’s one aspect of her control and confidence that she can capture an emotion ‘in a snapshot’, leaving us hungry for a little more. – Artemis
Her gift to us throughout this pamphlet is to allow us to better understand the personal challenges of sadness, conflict and even fear, by considering the global urgencies of war, poverty and violence. – Rosie Shepperd, Magma
Well-chosen details stamp the poems with authenticity and, in a consistently contemporary idiom, she maintains a tone which is wry, questioning, empathic and serious. – Dilys Wood, Artemis Poetry
The real achievement is the voice. There is no explication of opinion here, no sermonising, just brutally honest observation. This is conflict restrained by the poetic form and rendered all the more frightening for it. – Jane Bluett, Assent
You Are Here: Travels of a Derbyshire Poet Laureate (Derbyshire County Council 2009) is available from Ali Betteridge. Aimed at demystifying poetry for a general audience, You Are Here contains commissioned poems as well as responses to frequently asked questions such as ‘Why don’t poems rhyme any more?’ and ‘Is there anything a poet shouldn’t write about?’
Creative Non-fiction / Memoir
With Anne Caldwell, Clare Shaw, Nell Farrell, Char March and Suzanne Batty, River co-authored Some Girls’ Mothers (Route), moving and hard-hitting stories about the mother/daughter relationship.
Touching, wounding, humbling – Simon Armitage
‘Ink, Pen and Trustworthy Paper: Writing and Asylum Seekers’ with Tchiyiwe Chihana and Violet Dickenson, in Write Yourself by Gillie Bolton (Jessica Kingsley, 2011)
‘Critic Tango’ and ‘Bursting Free: Writing and M.E.’ in Writing Works: A Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops and Activities (ed. Bolton, Field and Thompson, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2006).
‘Death and Poetry’ in Dying, Bereavement and the Healing Arts (ed. Bolton, JKP 2007).
‘Notes for the Guidance of Accused Persons’ in Faslane 365 – A Year of Anti-Nuclear Blockades (ed. Angie Zelter, Luath Press 2008.