Handling Stolen Goods
These poems draw on the lives of Black people of Caribbean heritage in the working class communities of the Midlands and North East of England and the cultural mix they create. This publication is an Inscribe series chapbook.
Degna Stone
ISBN number
Country setting
United Kingdom
Publication date
28 Feb 2019

In a collection that encompasses both Siri and the trickster god Anansi, in his travels from West Africa via the Caribbean to Black working class communities in the Midlands and North East of England, Degna Stone demonstrates not only how well she tells stories, but also of her awareness of the difficulties of communication, where  “You know what he’s saying / but not what he’s getting at”, or where the injunction against lying doesn’t count in every situation. But if human interactions are at the heart of her poems, she also writes with telling precision about both place and animal nature. Not since Ted Hughes has anyone written so totemically about the crow, ominous, but also emblematic of tenacity, boldness and a harsh kind of beauty. When the poet declares, “I want to be as black as the crows”, it is much more than an embrace of blackness in resistance to prejudice.  

Karen McCarthy Woolf writes:

“Degna Stone’s poems are almost elusive, ethereal, yet like smoke they curl and shift under the surface, lingering long after reading.  They speak of and to all inhabitants of ‘otherness’, they speak of protest, of the contradictions and absurdities of race and class in a ‘Mother Country’ who spurns her own. Together they accumulate to form a landscape that is at once familiar and strange: a world of ‘dissonant harmonics’ where the ‘wind makes instruments of half-built tower blocks' and wayward teenagers come of age to a soundtrack of P J Harvey and Nina Simone.”

Andrew McMillan writes:

“It's a cliche of poetry that we often say that it transforms the ordinary; this pamphlet disproves this, showing us that the ordinary and everyday have always been transformational, and Degna's poems allow us to see that. These are poems written from the outskirts -- of cities, of love, of the body -- with a pure distillation of language where no word is wasted.”


Degna Stone

Degna Stone is a poet and producer based in Tyne and Wear. She received a Northern Writers Award in 2015, holds an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University and is a fellow of The Complete Works III. She has worked with Inscribe to produce a chapbook, Handling Stolen Goods, published by Peepal Tree in 2019.
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