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Real Boys

by Thomas Stewart



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ISBN: 9781846976674
Published: 04 Jul 2024
Format: Paperback
Extent: 96
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: Polygon
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About the Book

This collection is a visceral depiction of the difficult love between a father and son and what happens when that love is lost. In his debut, Thomas Stewart examines the death of his father whilst exploring questions of grief, guilt, mental health, identity, sexuality and masculinity.

As these poems unfold a hallway of mirrors is created, with father-son relationships from novels, art, cinema and Welsh mythology expanded and rethought. From The Exorcist to Pinocchio, Space Jam to The Mabinogion, The Babadook to Ivan the Terrible, this collection grapples what it means to be a father, a son and a self. Subverting the notions of gender, Stewart addresses the damage of old stereotypes, the passage of generational trauma and questions how we might change.

Here, father and son yearn, kill, retreat, die, grieve, turn to stone, are brought back from the dead. Here, sunflowers compete in fashion contests, bees nestle in beards, apple seeds birth ragged-robins. Here, suns give license to grief, witches rest in the crib and moths lead the way to the dead. At its core, Real Boys explores the crushing weight of grief and how we might just live with it.

The Author

Thomas Stewart

Thomas Stewart studied at the University of South Wales and creative writing at the University of Warwick and in Milan. In 2021, he was awarded a New Writers Award from Scottish Book Trust where he was mentored by Clare Askew. In 2020, he was Highly Commended in the Verve Poetry Competition, and his poem was included in the anthology, We’ve Done Nothing Wrong, We’ve Nothing to Hide (Verve Poetry Press, 2020). Thomas is the author of two poetry pamphlets: Based on a True Story (fourteen poems, 2022). Empire of Dirt (Red Squirrel Press, 2019), a Poetry Book Society selection.

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