Books

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Some of these books are for sale from the author. Ooh, fancy. They can be signed and dedicated, if required. All prices include UK postage and packing. For overseas orders please enquire first for correct postage. To purchase children's book visit this site.

Some poems from these books can be found (for your reading or listening pleasure) on the Poetry page of this site.


Poetry collections published by Two Rivers Press and Quirkstandard's Alternative.

These are the more 'serious' poetry collections. The covers to The Point of Inconvenience and Flood are by Sally Castle. The cover and three interior illustrations for Logic and the Heart were executed by Pip Hall. The cover for Of Birds and Bees, published by Quirkstandard's Alternative, a debossed, bronze-leafed bee portrait, is by Jo Thomas.


The Point of Inconvenience - (2013) - 74pp - £9.00


Profoundly moving, utterly uncompromising, the poems in this sequence are alive to the absurdities and contradictions that underwrite human tragedies. A.F. Harrold’s work is sensitive to the “mind’s ear” as well as to the mind’s eye.’ - Helen Mort

A.F. Harrold is a immensely witty and inventive writer. The Point of Inconvenience beguiles and moves with its emotional poignancy, surprises and range. I love the fullness of its lived experience.’ - David Caddy


The Point of Inconvenience front cover.jpg

Flood - (2010) - 62pp - £8.00

These poems are the real thing: serious about being human and being at home in the world.’ - Bernard O'Donoghue

A.F. Harrold doesn’t censor his extraordinary and generous imagination; he enters the territory between this world and whatever comes after it, writing so clearly and tenderly about death, memory and love that I felt both bruised and stroked.’ - Catherine Smith



Logic and the Heart - (2004) - 72pp - Out of print

These are bearish poems which embrace the reader. They are alert to life’s amazing moments as well as its dangers and they are warm, sensuous and delighting in detail. Concerned with the big matters of life: death and love, these are brave poems which spring from compassion and kindness.’ - Polly Clark

Inhabiting that threshold world between the material and the dream, thought and feeling, logic and the heart, Harrold charts with true musicality love’s loss and gain, its twilight territory "in the silence between breathing".’ - Jane Draycott


How To Avoid Bears

I have read many times and in many different sources
that the best way to not be eaten by bears
is to lie still and silent on the ground before them.

This is good advice, if it works, but better is, surely,
to not be attractive to bears. Do not smell like honey.
Do not move like a fish. Do not breathe like you like bears.

 


Of Birds and Bees - (2008) - 48pp - Limited Edition, Out of Print

A collaboration with visual artist Jo Thomas, this book collected together a selection of 'nature' poems alongside Jo's studies of dead animals - starting with her life-size bee portraits, and progressing into portraits of the birds in the Museum of Reading's collection.


Eclipse (after Archilocus)

What a world this is, when the middle of the day
is suddenly plunged into night. Stars and owls wake
only to be dimmed and disappointed by the sun's return.

But just to know this is the sort of world where day
is not always day, where night is waiting to step up
and step into view - well, in a world like this anything
could happen. I would hardly be surprised to find

crackling frost in August, or sunfish in English waters.
I cross my fingers at how my cupboard is only two,
maybe three, meals short of seeing barbarians at the door.



Entertainments published by Burning Eye Books, Two Rivers Press and Quirkstandard's Alternative.

These books contain the 'funnier' poems, short stories, drawings and nonsense. Lies My Mother Never Told Me is published by Burning Eye Books, purveyors of the very finest and widest range of performance poets operating in Britain today. The cover photograph was rendered by Iszi Lawrence. Postcards From The Hedgehog, from Two Rivers Press, which had a cover picture and interior illustrations by AFH, was designed by Rich Lucas, who also designed and made the front cover for The Man Who Spent Years In The Bath, which has interior illustrations by Rich Ponsford, who then designed, covered and made four interior illustrations for Harold, as well as designing The Education of Epitome Quirkstandard. The last three were all published by Quirkstandard's Alternative, A.F. Harrold's cottage industry small home press.


Lies My Mother Never Told Me - (2014) - 122pp - £10

There is a poem for every occasion here, so if you’re planning on speaking at a wedding or teaching an English class or sending a birthday or valentine card or in existing in the world as a human in anyway whatsoever, then why not make your life a lot easier and just buy this book already.’ - Byron Vincent

Reads like being invited over for tea on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, then having your host serve good conversation, fine wit, a tall tale and a selection of rather unusual cakes.’ - Professor Elemental

I read one of A.F. Harrold’s poems to my two year old son and it disturbed him greatly.’ - Dan Cockrill



Postcards From The Hedgehog - (2007) - 66pp - Out of print

'An original, weird and wonderful. The best of A.F. Harrold's poems have a subversive humour that is quite brilliant.' - Brian Patten

'More naturally selective than Darwin, more probing than Palin - and a damn sight funnier than Bellamy - this is a delightful zoological garden of vertebrate verse. A.F. has captured some fine specimens, which he dissects with a quipping quill.' - Marcus Moore

'Postcards From The Hedgehog sustained me for the whole duration of a bus-ride to Mortlake, and made me forget that I was having to stand. By the time we reached Barnes pond, I was even tapping my foot, I think. Every poem contains moments of pirouetting genius, although I didn't understand the one about the artificial spider. And I was a bit worried because my last book had "hedgehog" in the title, too. I think he may be copying me.' - Rachel Pantechnicon



The Man Who Spent Years In The Bath - (2008) - 66pp - Out of print

'Much more fun than a rubber duck.' - Elvis McGonagall

'A.F. Harrold's verbal loofahs scrub the bits other poets can't reach.' - Elvis McGonagall

'George Eliot dancing a fandango, a voyage to Trousers Island, an analysis of the etymology of Jammie Dodgers - this volume has everything one has come to expect from the canyons of A.F. Harrold's extraordinary imagination. Except yaks. There are no yaks. Which is curious.' - Elvis McGonagall

'Ablutionary verse.' - Elvis McGonagall

'Bath a most private thing.' - James Joyce

'A.F. Harrold's poems are the kippers knickers.' - Elvis McGonagall


Two Intimations of Mortality

Being interred should be deferred.
Being cremated is overrated.


Harold - (2012) - 62pp - £7.50

Harold, the book, tells the story of Harold, the man.

Harold’s life, as witnessed in the sequence of poems, is full of small embarrassments, slight disappointment and unexceptional failure.

The book’s a little funny, a little bit sad.



The Education of Epitome Quirkstandard - (2010) - 354pp - £11 - (cheaper on Kindle)

Poetry slam champion A.F. Harrold is a fine poet and entertainer and it’s great to see his early novel published at last. The Education of Epitome Quirkstandard is weird and wonderful: a 21st Century take on Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. Only someone as eccentric as Mr Harrold would plunder the 18th Century novel and come up with something so funny. It’s either going to be a cult book or forgotten: hopefully the former.’ - Brian Patten


from the last page...

    Quirkstandard sipped his tea -- it was strong and sugary and did him good.
    When the cup was empty he sat for a while and looked at the calendar on the wall -- it had a picture on it of a giraffe for this month. Giraffes didn't remind him of anything.
    He sat looking at it for a few minutes, savouring the feeling.
    After a while he slipped out of the lodge, made sure the door was shut properly behind him, passed the polar bear as he left the Zoo, glanced at it quickly, smiled quietly to himself and walked all the way home.