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In Transit
by Chris Rice
£12 (pub. 2024)

The poems in this collection are about journeys: the reasons we make them and the still points they contain. Arrivals, departures, attempts at escape and voyages into the unknown, as well as the journey from the end of childhood to the beginning of old age, and whatever might lie beyond: ‘at dawn the paper will be blank but far from empty – all the evidence I need that I have crossed her sky’. Chris Rice’s dazzling second collection lifts off lightly and soars with exquisite delicacy. Please have your ticket ready.

Praise for In Transit:

“The world of In Transit is constructed from pinpoint-accurate images. Line by line, Chris Rice maps landscapes and cityscapes, where grey becomes ‘the colour I love: the colour of edges, half-matter, half-mist, of scuff marks and scratches and ash.’ Each poem has a vivid story to tell and is told with remarkable skill.”

Elisabeth Sennitt Clough

“Chris Rice is expert at the exact and telling detail. His poems exhibit experience, too, as well as a strong sense of felt emotion and a rueful sort of wisdom: the understanding that it’s more about how you see than what you say. Whenever one of his poems has landed on my desk, I’ve known, immediately, that I want to publish it. Judging by this collection, I will want to publish many more.”

Alan Humm

“What’s in a name, or rather a title: ‘Still Life, Moving Shadow’ or ‘Red Toes’? No wonder Chris’s poems were selected for the Featured Poet Section of Orbis 186, and he was voted 2nd in the Readers’ Award: ‘an excellent choice’, ‘vibrancy and edge’. If you appreciate vivid imagery, choice vocabulary and original ideas, and want to know why his work deserves all this attention – buy his collection to enjoy it yourself.”

Carole Baldock


I throw the ballpoint pen away.
She hits the carpet with her stick
and says she wants it back.
I offer her another one but, no,
she wants the one she’s always used.

I check my watch and roll my eyes,
marvelling at her stubbornness,
her mad determination
to prove me wrong and make
ink flow again
               when suddenly
I see a cross, a solitary crucifix,
topple from the dry nib of her pen.

‘There, I’ve voted Leave,’ she says.
But I’m the one who’s leaving,

spotting in her sidelong glance
the smile she used to aim at me
when spitting on a handkerchief
to wipe a smear of something
sticky from my squeezed-up face.

I check the panic in the glance
an old man tosses at me
from the mirror in the hall.
I shut the door and start the car
and travel streets

               whose geography
I think I know by heart. I end up
taking nothing but wrong turns.

(from In Transit)

In Transit

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