Yes But What Is This? What Exactly?


Published 1st October 2020

A puddle, lighthouses, the financial crisis (in three parts) or seeing a goal scored from a passing train, these typically sharp-eyed and brilliantly inventive McMillan poems often can’t help being very funny, while also being, as usual, more serious than they seem, and more hurt.

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What Writers and Critics Think

  • World class – one of today’s greatest poetry performers

    Carol Ann Duffy
  • Hard hitting ... Ian McMillan at the top of his game

    London Grip on That’s Not a Fishing Boat, It’s a Giraffe: Responses to Austerity
  • McMillan’s observations are earthed but complex; he finds a way to the heart of the matter with great heart of his own, and he does so, often, by peering through the counter-intuitive end of the telescope.

    The Yorkshire Times on on That’s Not a Fishing Boat, It’s a Giraffe: Responses to Austerity


Ian McMillan is a poet, journalist, playwright and broadcaster. He has had several volumes of poetry published for both adults and children, and is an enthusiastic advocate of poetry. In addition he has had journalism published in Q magazine and Mojo magazine, and writes a weekly column in his home town’s local newspaper, The Barnsley Chronicle. He has the unique honour of being the first poet in residence to a football club, his hometown Barnsley FC.

Ian’s first Smith|Doorstop pamphlet, Tall in the Saddle, was published in 1986 — the company’s first year of business; and his second was This Lake Used to be Frozen: Lamps in 2011, the Poetry Business’ 25th anniversary year. He has two further pamphlets with Smith|Doorstop: Ah’ve Soiled Ma Breeks (2012) and That’s Not a Fishing Boat, It’s a Giraffe (2019).

Additional information

Weight 0.067 kg
Dimensions 21 × 14.8 × 0.6 cm




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