• Green City cover

Green City by Sue MacIntyre

(2 customer reviews)


Green City is a chapbook-length poem that, in the words of Keats, invites us to take “part in its existence and pick about the gravel”.


Green City – Thumprint pocket book no.4

Sue MacIntyre’s Green City began life as a random collection of note-like poems about small moments of intensity in the poet’s daily life in London. Starting with an epigraph from US poet Mark Doty “What was our city but wonderful detail?”, this hypnotic poem travels the capital picking out its own details in a quiet love song to the city. From the ‘shining ribbon of song’ of an urban robin to the messages written in Polish on a lamppost memorial, the lighted candles of a wayside shrine to Amy Winehouse, the ‘stickiness on roofs and cars, black gritty gum on pavements, Green City is a poem that, in the words of Keats, invites us to take “part in its existence and pick about the gravel”.

What people have been saying

Sue MacIntyre’s London is all in the detail. It’s a place that can provide ‘the space, the nothingness I need’, a place where she is ‘eye to eye with strangeness’, where:

Swifts whistle in distant playgrounds
and in green sky catch flies at dusk.

But it is not a matter of contrasting ‘urban’ and ‘natural’, there’s nothing melodramatic about it. The two exist side by side, ‘the balm of lime scent / at night above broken bottles and asphalt.’ There’s an exactness of description that contrives to be calmly matter-of-fact while at times being highly enigmatic. – John Welch

Sue's coverISBN: 978-1-910413-15-9
Publisher: Stonewood Press
Price: £4.99 (Thumbprint Pocket book – Poetry)
Extent: 34 pages
Publication: June 2016

Additional information

Weight 90 g
Dimensions 110 × 154 × 4 mm

2 reviews for Green City by Sue MacIntyre

  1. Chris Beckett

    Sue MacIntyre’s Green City is a delightful and clear-eyed meditation on the city with all its contrasting inhabitants, its birds, plants, bony bicycles, a Caribbean hair salon, a yellow crane, asphalt, broken bottles, squirrels hanging by a claw on the bird feeder. And of course the poet too, whose thoughts on what she sees (sometimes just in the words she chooses) accompany you through the book.

    The journey starts before dawn, in the dark, with a robin who lets fall a shining ribbon/of song and the darkness pauses, so even darkness seems a living presence in the city, giving way slowly to the light of a new day.

    Then we see a young neighbour (he has a gaunt young face, which is a wonderful contrast in itself) with his mug of something and his first cigarette, and that something is so honest and natural, that it feels to me almost a manifesto: observe, don’t invent, be humble enough to admit what you don’t know, be true to the details of what you see. So I feel myself relaxing, letting a presence I trust walk me through the city, show it to me afresh.

    A long time ago I bought a small copy of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch poems and carried it around in my pocket for months. Green City has been in my pocket now for over a week and I feel uplifted, even protected, by having it there.

  2. Marcus Smith (verified owner)

    Green City keenly documents the interstices in which the contemporary urban setting is infiltrated, often oddly and randomly, by the natural world, and Sue MacIntyre is a poet of close observation and concise, accurate accounting, the two central poetic skills. Her metropolis is a place where mimosas ‘planted without hope’ flower near dustbins, where ‘a flurry of white seagulls’ sweep around, as if with affinity, a white sports car, and where a walk among trees can cause a ‘joy of levitation.’ Her short, crisp lyrics mix nostalgia and regret with continued wonder at the endurance of nature and enriches anyone of us if we also notice in our own lives our own ‘Green City.’

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