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Plum

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  306 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Hollie McNish has thrilled and entranced audiences the length and breadth of the UK with her compelling and powerful performances. Plum, her debut for Picador Poetry, is a wise, sometimes rude and piercingly candid account of her memories from childhood to attempted adulthood. This is a book about growing up, about guilt, flesh, fruit, friendships, work and play - and the ...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published June 15th 2017 by Picador
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Lucy Langford
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
3***
From "head":
because this thing upon my neck
has carried me to places
i have never been
made me dreams
placed me into fantasies
i cannot afford
and will probably never see
in one short life


Hollie McNish is a spoken word poet and I love seeing some of her performances online.

This book of poetry encompasses poems that McNish wrote from a very young age, through to teenage years and adulthood. Her poems also cover a range of topics, and the tone changes through out, reflecting her growth in age and the
...more
Eric Anderson
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“A new book?” my boyfriend asks when he sees me reading, as usual. “What’s this one about?”
I tell him it’s a book of poetry.
“Poetry?!” he frowns (half joking).
I try to explain how it’s a particularly engaging and fun collection.

The general public, even regular readers often view poetry as inaccessible or perplexingly elitist. But Hollie McNish is a great example of a modern poet with writing that’s so easy to relate to. It’s also smart, humorous, bawdy, political and socially-engaged. “Plum” is
...more
Pip
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If, like me, you are new to poetry and want to give some a go, try this. Absolutely ace.
Shweta
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A memoir in poetry ...
Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
*Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

'Remember that not everyone gets to have grey hairs. Ever. It's a privilege you should not be moaning about. Dye it if you fancy. Just don't moan.'

Witty, humorous, and relatable, Hollie McNish's new collection Plum is a punchy exploration of adolescence, social expectations, friendship, and womanhood.

The anthology contains poems written by McNish when she was a child, teenager, and an adult, cov
...more
Caroline Fosse
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book is filled with beautiful poems about growing up, friendships, work, guilt and more. It’s funny, it’s serious, it’s relatable, it’s beautiful.

«You can skip and wear pink and say ‘ooh’ as you twirl
What a fucking great laugh it is to be a girl
Each month without fail you get spotty and swollen
And you worry all day that a red blotch is showing»
Mo
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
4,3 stars! This poetry book was a lot different than the ones I usually read. More story than rhythm, more stream of consciousness than metaphor. It's more of an easy-read, which is nice. Though I think she is less talented than many other poets, at least she can convey the message which is a big part of writing. I give her credit for that.

Not more stars, because Plum contained a bit too much feminism and puberty stories for my liking.

Side Note: I never expected the title to be a euphemism for v
...more
Gill
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, poetry
'Plum' by Holly McNish

4 stars/ 8 out of 10

I enjoy reading poetry, so was interested in reading this book. The author, Holly McNish, received the Ted Hughes Award in 2016.

The poems included in this volume have been written by the author from her early years up to the present day, and cover a wide range of topics. I enjoyed the explanations that accompanied many of the poems. I found many of the poems thought provoking, and could imagine several of them being performed.

My favourite poems were 'Lan
...more
Brooklyn Tayla
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was definitely a refreshing book of poetry, I felt it was very relevant to today's state of the world and I love how open Hollie is in her writing, it felt like there were no filters whatsoever and she was being honest, and I could picture what she was writing! However, I found I didn't emotionally connect to these poems as much as I had to others, I felt like some were too interpersonal and felt like a general perception rather than feelings, but I'm definitely intrigued to see what other ...more
Hanna
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you've read my review of Whiskey Words & a Shovel by R. H. Sin, you would know that I'm a little hesitant when it comes to picking up poetry books. I am so glad I got to read this one, thanks to the publishers; Picador Poetry, an imprint of Pan MacMillan.

Plum features poems by Hollie McNish about friendship, growing up, and adulthood. I loved this because it not only features her recent poems as an established poet but also some of the ones that she wrote when she was ten years old!

I also
...more
Anne Oftedahl
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Listened to on audiobook
Graham
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, literature
I saw this author on television, on 'meet the Author' and when James Naughtie let her get a word in edgeways she was articulate, funny and attractive - just like her poems. So I was inspired to get and read this, her latest collection. It is a most enjoyable collection of poems, which cry out to be performed, or at least read aloud. They cover many of the concerns of adolescence and young adulthood, as well as motherhood and later concerns. Hollie writes with a lot of wit as well as insight, and ...more
Jessica
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection was just beautiful. Obviously it wasn’t as great as hearing Hollie McNish reading them but it was still freaking amazing! This is a must-read collection for all women I stand by it, the body positivity, the feminism, the thoughts on motherhood in this collection are so realistic, full of doubts and fleeting beautiful moments just like life, I loved it
Kerry Priest
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst poetry books I've ever read.
I bought Plum because the blurb and cover made it seem like an essential poetry book. On reading it, I felt genuinely cheated out of my money and considered taking it back, but have kept it to remind myself of how terrible poetry can be.
Plum also serves as a reminder that the TS Eliot prize is a completely worthless accolade.

Jasmin
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m going to be honest, this is the first collection of Hollie’s that I’ve ever read. In fact, before I picked up Plum in Waterstones, I had never even heard the name ‘Hollie McNish’ and you know what?

Five pages in, I realised just what I’d been missing. My only regret about reading Plum is that I didn’t read it sooner. Cheesy perhaps, but true. I also find it strange the way you discover a new favourite writer sometimes. What made me grab a copy of Plum from the bookshelf was the fact that the
...more
Nod Ghosh
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing

A delicious book that tickles your tongue as effectively as the fruit that gives the volume its title.

McNish is famed for her spoken word pieces. Some are satirical. Most are politically astute.

I was curious to see how her powerful rhythmic style translated into the written form.

Despite the faux naif simplicity, make no mistake, this work has been crafted with wit and intelligence.

In 'Plum' the author pays tribute to her younger self, the early writer, or the child-poet. This makes the work inst
...more
Shelly
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hollies new book of poems and life follows her from pre teen discovery, through the embarrassment, rules and judgement of being a teenager. Continuing to early twenties, motherhood and thirty.
In her whitty and down to earth way, she covers topics such as puberty, society's prejudice against teenagers, bullying and school.

The poems are a collection of Hollies thoughts and musings taken throughout her life and show her talent for honesty. One particularly honest poem about a group of mums laughin
...more
Anna
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC of this book.

I love love love Hollie McNish’s poetry. I thought that ‘Nobody Told Me‘ was an absolute masterpiece and I have really enjoyed reading ‘Plum’.

I love McNish’s point of view and wish my brain worked like hers. All her references resound with me and she perfectly puts into words thoughts and feeling I have had and makes me think more deeply about important issues. I love the train of feminism which runs through many of her poems and her
...more
Alice
Yes. Yes. Yes. That was what I was saying as I was reading this. This is the type of poetry I like to read. It is relatable, and honest. And at some points, I felt like I was having a good ol' chat with the poet. The little blurb had a reviewer describe these poems as having an urgent quality. And I agree, the collection discusses current political situations as well as the age old questions.

I loved the little tales and thoughts she had in each of these poems. I also loved how it retained its sp
...more
Debbie Kinsey
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I was lucky enough to see Hollie McNish perform some poems from this collection. She’s a great performer and it made a real difference to how I read the collection. This is the kind of poetry that I don’t often get a lot from just reading it on a page (though there were a few in here I loved that way), so I liked that I read it very soon after seeing her perform so I had her voice, intonation, and rhythm in my head. It’s a collection about growing up, particularly growing up as a youn ...more
Chris Roberts
Jun 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book signals an intellectual
and cultural suicide perpetrated on poetry readers.

Poetry can only be unpredictable drop dead dangerously
and doesn't engage in asinine scribblings (the author)
verse hacks to the bone
and bleeds out dually...lovely and decimated...a prostrate sculpture.

Does the world mourn poetry's decline?
Wrapping around itself, a crimson choke vine
Sappho alone can rise-up verse.

To the poetry junkies and authors of same:

You're that clueless reader, wandering the stupidity ruins,
...more
Annette Jordan
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another collection from one of my favourite voices, and this is as memorable and powerful as the book which introduced me to her work ( Cherry Pie - check it out if you haven't already). Hollie McNish is a woman with something to say, and a uniquely powerful way of saying it that appeals to the everyman ( or woman). Deeply personal, many of the poems in this book touch on moments in her life, that feel almost universal. Blunt, but never offensive, honest and often humorous ,and occasionally incr ...more
Sarah Hobbs
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this little gem of a collection at it's launch night at the Union Chapel in Islington, London - just over a week ago, and I loved it. Click here for a write up of this launch event.

Plum had everything you would want from a contemporary collection of poetry.

Click here to read my full review...

...more
Susan Austin
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this book quickly and it was a bit varying in quality but overall it was great. I can relate to her and the themes she addresses (motherhood, girls grappling with sexuality, sexism and poverty in society, appreciating our bodies, nature etc) and I was glad she was brave enough to share a selection of her earlier childhood poems. It's interesting reading rhyming poems as I don't usually, but I've seen some brilliant YouTube videos of her performing some popular ones and could imagine many ...more
Jennifer
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this interesting poetry collection which had me laughing and snorting and sighing. The pairing of juvenilia and adult work was effective. Some is unsurprisingly probably best experienced as performance rather than read on the page, a few didn't hit my spot but really this is very fine, earthy, lovely stuff. Mostly perhaps a celebration and exploration of real womanhood at all ages but perhaps because of this one of the poems which touched me most was "Man"
Lorin 🔮
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I absolutely love Hollie McNish’s spoken word - fans of her spoken word will probably enjoy this too.

This collection is a memoir, featuring poems from her childhood, adolescence and beyond. I loved the poems about motherhood and parenting - I would love a few prints of these for my house.

I think it lost a few stars because it didn’t wholly blow me away. It was enjoyable, but other than a few select poems, I can’t say I’ll be coming back to this.
Paul
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A lot of this I can imagine working well as spoken-word poetry, but on the page I found it a bit flat.

I wasn't convinced by the idea of having poems written as a child standing alongside later poems on similar themes. Felt a wee bit like you were obliged to tell someone how great their kid is at something, which feels a bit cringey when it's themselves as a child they are trying to show off.
Samantha
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was actually looking for poetry to inspire my 13 year old daughter as she will be starting her GSCE reading next term and will no doubt get quite a lot of dry old poems from hundreds of years ago that are going to put her off poetry - as it did me for years and years. This is a bit too graphic for her just yet, but I enjoyed it. Would heartily recommend this.
Hannah Middleton
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was hesitant about whether ‘Plum’ Would live up to the raw, emotional honesty of ‘Nobody Told Me’ which was one of the my books of 2016. If anything, though, I loved ‘Plum’ even more! As un-put-down-able as any thriller, McNish is fearless in offering us an insight into her self and I was both moved and amused throughout . I will be buying this for all my friends and recommending it widely.
Victoria
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous, funny, thoughtful, rude, honest. I loved this collection. I wish I'd read it slower but I couldn't help devouring the whole thing. I love Hollie Mcnish and could relate to these poems so well. I think a lot of us will be able to do so.
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