Publications from New Hope International

KEN KIRK: THE IMPACT OF STEEL.
coverKenneth Maclean Kirk's ancestors are from Wester Ross. He was born in Durham in 1920, but brought up in Keighley and educated at Bradford Grammar School and Oriel College, Oxford. He spent WW2 in the Middle East and Italy. He has been involved in training with the National Association of Boy's Clubs and the British Iron & Steel Federation. In the mid-50s he managed a small carbon steel strip company in Sheffield. In the 80s he worked as a management consultant in Jeddah. Since the 90s he has lived in Cyprus. The poems in this collection are enriched by a lifetime of such experiences, yet remain relevant to the 21st century.
ISBN 0 903610 25 0
Sample poem

quotes and extracts from reviews.
This moving collection shows how a sensitive man can use poetry to share in the feelings of others at home and abroad Denis Healey.
a moving collection, lifetime's work Moonstone.
Memorials to lost friends, praise for the real achievements of humankind and anger at the perfidy of politics as in Millenium Ś Lose or Win?: "Why bother? It's nothing but the fag-end/ Of a thousand years; Mankind's lust for war/ Unquenched, the politicians squawk for more;/And get it." Handshake (John Francis Haines).
A very powerful booklet, made all the more stark as I read this after the New York/Washington/Pennsylvania atrocities. There's pity in the poetry, but a strength which veers away from the sickly sentimental. Eastern Rainbow (Paul Rance).
Many of the poems here are sonnets ..When you get used to the retro feel of these, you have to admit that something like the existential "On Man's Condition" hits the nail on the head, the sonnet form lending clarity to Kirk's philosophical musings. ..The anti-Vietnam War piece "PerspectiveŚWith Postcript" ..comes across as particularly strong. ..It is a feeling accentuated by the poem's free verse; here we experience emotion unmediated by an intricate rhyme scheme. ..Kirk can occasionally be insightful about human nature. ..he is a competent writer, his craft generally well-honed. The Burning Bush (Michael S. Begnal).
A collected occasional poetry, reaching back some fifty years and heavily populated by the sonnet, from someone who is clearly a kindly and sensitive man. I responded to the poems' pulse of indignation and anger, and especially liked the attack of poems like RETRIBUTION and SONNET FOR VLADIMIR - The fruit of that forbidden tree is ours/ At last the individual has won!/ Drink Coke and eat McDonalds' meals for hours... whilst wincing at Ken Kirk's use of archaic language - aglaze, plight, incarnadined. The Journal (Paul Lee).
Ken Kirk writes with passion about political subjects. The actual subjects might not be political, (in fact they cover a crippled musician, an African student, a radio broadcast on Angola, and his personal reaction to music on February 6th/7th 1998, as well as the impact of steel and the night shift), but he writes to champion the underclass universally, from Scotland, with fire in his belly. It is characterful writing, in a traditional mode, in historic perspective - casting a cynical eye on hypocrisy; and good, for it meets its purpose. Pulsar (Janie Thomas).
Kirk's writing ... is a brawny, tough mingling of the topical, the valedictory, the angry and the political. I can see that I'm going to have to keep reading. James Methven (Oriel College, Oxford).
seriously interesting material. Krax (Andy Robson).

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This page last updated: 22nd February 2009.