• I'LL SPLINTER • IE01
Author: Tom Branfoot
Art Direction: Adam Griffiths
Concept & Typesetting: PARIAH PRESS
Includes dust jacket and wrapping
Published: September 2021
Tom Branfoot’s debut collection distills themes of masculinity, environmentalism and mental health into eighteen formally daring poems. He writes with a disarming sincerity on family, decay and illness. Both figuratively and circumstantially 'I’ll Splinter' is the poetry of crises, a considered rumination on what happens to the self when the world around it fractures.
Praise for I'll Splinter:
Tom Branfoot’s poems brim with evocative phrase-making and a fine imagination. Branfoot is adept not only at generating sonic magic but at drawing the most from the white silence between stanzas and at a poem’s end. There is a real maturity in his restraint and handling of implication. He is a writer to watch.
— John McCullough
author of Reckless Paper Birds
and The Lives of Ghosts
This collection of work is crunchy, cold, sharp, and stinks of impatient ambition. Branfoot is an abrupt new voice with a tone which can evoke at times an open hand and at others a turned back. He hops with seasoned ease from space to space, capturing moments of quiet love, conceits of the vulnerable cosmos, ironic nothings, winding paths, the boring horrors of mortality, the dryness of living and yet life’s wetness, too. To describe Branfoot in his own terms, he is a “stunning intrusion”. 'I’ll Splinter' is young and fast; a “splendid falling”.
— Blair James
author of Bernard & Pat
'I’ll Splinter' is a collection that makes the everyday—the mundane—an exceptional thing to read about. Branfoot captures the smallest moments with a sharp, perceptive eye, transforming the unseen into poetry. Nature meets city, thought meets introspection, normality meets exceptional creativity.
I loved this assured collection.
— Beth Barker
Blackwell’s Bookshop and Up North Books
From the ‘when you arrive like an untied animal’ of the opening Cotlight, to Widowed with its ‘pipe smoke like sea fog used to sail’, Branfoot’s debut is a striking evocation of the visited and visiting—but never vanquished. In this sense, 'I’ll Splinter' strikes the reader with the intensity of its searching, that deep drive perhaps aflame in us all—to see more, feel more, to journey. Sometimes flavoured with the melancholy of that inevitable turbulence and how it is twisted through form, and yet at other points buoyed by the imagery encountered along the way—as in ‘the fleet of ships departing for lost cities’ in The Great British Bake Off—this is a pamphlet brimming with movement and emotional depth. And as the lines that give the pamphlet its name declare ‘in dreams i chase you down the boulevard heading toward the ocean turn around & I’ll splinter’, it is within these poems that poetic force merges with thought to pull us to new realisations. Skilfully done and a work of craft.
— Emily Oldfield
'I'll Splinter' lives up to its name, remaining under the skin to be picked at for days. It reads like a Northern (English) Gothic breakup album, with its kitchen sink never free of blood for long.
— Fred Macpherson
Spector / Low Spirits
As the title provokes, Branfoot’s debut pamphlet expresses those lived moments when mind and soul feel like a fracturing entity. A provisional existence. Melancholic and sparse in places, this rendition of personal and experiential passages leads one to feel they too are wandering. Traversing through everyday terrain, with sojourns of escapism, we encounter the lost, exiled, the underneath and the other side. From localised intensities, ‘walking the relay from streetlamp to bus stop,’ to memories across the sea, ‘bitter as Helsinki winter,’ 'I’ll Splinter' unfolds in a flexuous manner that honours the author’s movements, hesitations and breath.
– Lucy Rose Cunningham
author of For Mary, Marie, Maria: after the nectar, pyre and linden tree