Seaweed and sunburn. The death of a fridge. A ‘pie- faced’ St George is upstaged by the horse.

In The English Summer Holly Hopkins confronts the illusions and paradoxes of history in poems that reimagine medieval anchorites and 18th-century follies, zombies and the Megabus. This is a landscape populated by overcrowded urban bedsits and burnt- out country piles, where ghosts of the past are sensed beneath dual carriageways and old gods emerge from rotting bindweed.

Visceral and analytic at turns, Hopkins’ startling collection probes at the undergrowth of English culture; a white-hot debut by a poet of singular vision.

Unlike the holiday downpours wryly presaged by its title, nothing disappoints in this nimble, humane, and brilliantly inventive debut. The English Summer has the instincts of an archaeologist, the eye of a sell-out comic, and the soul of an itinerant philosopher. Whether leading us down history’s forgotten byways, or skewering the quirks of contemporary life, Hopkins is an enchanting guide: a poet of rare talents, who will make you chuckle, stop in your tracks, then question everything you know.
– Sarah Howe

When I read a poem by Holly Hopkins, I feel as if I’m eavesdropping on the secrets of life itself – The English Summer shimmers with exquisite revelations. Whatever she writes about, whether it’s global warming, a country church, or the death of a fridge, however down-to-earth the subject, there’s a pin-sharp clarity, matched with a sleight of hand in the machinery of each poem, that gives us an original look at the world.
– Pascale Petit 

From Lady Godiva to the Green Man, Holly Hopkins takes on the stories England tells about itself. I love Hopkins’ tragicomic vision: vicious snobbery coexists with great tenderness, in an England tense with ‘thunderclouds of gorse’. A lacerating and truly lovely debut. 
– Clare Pollard

Much alive poetry is written from the margins. Holly Hopkins does write feminist poems: about, for instance, domestic labour done by women. But as a whole, this scrupulously precision-built collection (the lines shine, but in a way that pulls you up short and makes you think)  doesn’t speak from the margin but the missing centre — of Englishness itself.  These poems are particular and humane. They show it is possible to be contemporaneous without being presentist; to be simultaneously, singingly, topical and historical; and they reconnect to a real, abiding world emotional highs and lows that have become politically untethered.
– Vidyan Ravinthiran

A poem by Holly Hopkins always reminds me of some sort of implement, which looks to be quite practical, but – well now, just look at that, you’ve cut yourself. Tsk. Whatever this implement is, she uses it to worry the joins between all manner of polite hypocrisies: between what we say and what we mean; between the spaces we inhabit and the way they’re sold to us; between an ornamental wall and a property boundary.  Yet somehow – I’m not sure how she’s pulled this off – this is a collection about hope.   
– Abigail Parry


There isn’t a stale line in this pamphlet. Holly Hopkins is the genuine thing, and this is a ferociously impressive debut.
– Poetry London

The heightened reality of Holly Hopkins’ poetry takes the reader into worlds of brilliantly faceted language, worlds in which anything can and does happen.  Enter these poems and emerge changed.
– Jo Shapcott

 Irresistible in its charms. These are elegant, subtle poems that coalesce seemingly contradictory themes and locales with an easy grace… An assured and powerful debut.
– The Poetry Book Society

Full of imagination and invention, Holly Hopkins’ stylish and confident poems are entertaining, varied and quietly ambitious. There is achievement here and the promise of much more.
– Carol Ann Duffy


Carcanet New Poetries VIII, Carcanet.
Battalion, Sidekick Books 
Thirty at Thirty: Celebrating Thirty Years of Smith|doorstop Pamphlets, The Poetry Business.
The Emma Press Anthology of Age, The Emma Press.
Campaign in Poetry: The Emma Press Anthology of Political Poems, The Emma Press.
Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History,
Best Friends Forever: Poems on Female Friendship, The Emma Press.
Poems of Homesickness and Exile, The Emma Press.
Cast: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets, The Poetry Business.
Bedford Square 7, Ward Wood Publishing.
Coin Opera 2: Fulminare’s Revenge, Sidekick Books.
Dear World & Everyone In It: New Poetry In The UK, Bloodaxe Books.
Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam, Waterstones.
Herbarium, Urban Physic Garden.
The Captain’s Tower, Seren Books.
Birdbook 1: towns, Parks, Gardens and Woodlands, Sidekick Books