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This review is taken from PN Review 252, Volume 46 Number 4, March - April 2020.

Cover of The Other Side of Nowhere
Rory WatermanNowhere Warm
André Naffis-Sahely, The Other Side of Nowhere (Rough Trade), £7.99;
Ramona Herdman, A Warm and Snouting Thing (Emma), £6.50
One of the most pleasing things about writing these columns for PN Review is that I get to pick both my winners, and my focus. I’ve decided to concentrate this roundup on poets who have published one full-length book before turning to pamphlets – something I did myself. I quickly grew to feel a little constrained by my first book, because I’d started trying to do different things. Putting some of that into a pamphlet helped me to test out where I might be going, to grow. The two poets discussed below seem to have comparable motivations, and have certainly moved on with admirable assurance.

Few people are unrooted citizens of the world in the fashion of Andre Naffis-Sahely, whose first full-length collection was published in 2018. That forthright, erudite and absorbing book owes an occasionally slightly uneasy stylistic debt to Michael Hofmann, an enduring influence, and is called The Promised Land: Poems from an Itinerant Life. Naffis-Sahely was born in Italy, raised in the United Arab Emirates, educated in Scotland and England, and has now (or at least for now) settled in the western United States – where, if the poems in The Other Side of Nowhere are anything to go by, he does not seem to have found his Promised Land:
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN,
BUY REAL ESTATE! Hail follows rain.
Nearby, the township of Sunsites,
once billed as the safest

spot to survive
the inevitable nuclear winter,
actually topped Soviet Russia’s
list of ...


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