REVIEWS FOR "Pockets of Resistance"

Brian Kinlan's book "Pockets of Resistance" may be a book of poetry that takes him back to his childhood but if you come from an old council estate these short poems are as much about your life as his.
As I read, my childhood came flooding back; the good times, the harsh times. Knowing both ends of the spectrum is something you really know growing up on the estate. Building dens and bricks piled high and a precariously balanced plank to use as a ramp, the bumps and scrapes and the terrors of rival gangs, his collection is so wonderfully sparse that your memories fill in the gaps perfectly. It is a rare skill to create full stories in poetry with a limited palette of words, but Brian Kinlan pulls it off with visual verbal dexterity.
I only hope there is a follow up book featuring our young tyke during his teenage years and entering into the world of men.
His collection is laugh out loud funny, touching and sad. It moves through the spectrum of emotions, just like life on a council estate is.
Kitchen sink poetry at its best.


I'm not a poems person - I don't like poetry! - But they're not the usual boring "poems". I likes the fact that I understood a poem and it made sense to me. It was simple, straight forward and interesting. There were some I read and I could connect it to myself - it made me feel like a child still. Overall I think it's a really good read and I would recommend it!

  • Extremely readable, honest and often touchingly poignant. 
  • Brian Kinlan…is indisputably A Poet, there’s some very fine stuff in there!
  • They are just beautiful.  You can fall right into them.
  • Brian Kinlan puts the emotion to poetry and the poetry into emotion.
  • I don’t like poetry…but I like this!
  • Loved the book, very deep and meaningful - well done.  Looking forward to your next book.
  • I have been reading some of your poems and have to say you got talent!  I was particularly moved by "Violent Love", some really powerful imagery in that one and made quite an impact on me.  I seriously hope you continue with your writing and so pleased you weren't totally deterred from it by what others told you when you were younger.
  • I was reading the poems…they are brilliant. You are really talented.
  • I'm in awe of your ability!  Your style is both unusual and intriguing to me, and you write with such conviction and honesty that I cried more than once while reading!  
  • Very addictive, can’t put it down.  Look forward to reading more.
  • What I’ve read has been excellent.  Let me know when the next one is out. 
  • Your book is really something special.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Normally, I’m not big on poetry but the way you have with words just created a Vision, an image in my mind with every poem.  And it’s not just that, it’s also a feeling.  When you can create that in someone just with words you truly have a gift.

Ryburn Link Review - HEAD IN THE CLOUDS by Brian Kinlan is a work "for those who don't like poetry"!

"Brian has classified his work into themes but, by not inserting an overall framework for the volume, has made the work more approachable and the reader can feel free to dip in at random.

"A large scale work can be off-putting like some of Wordsworth or Tennyson or local-born Ted Hughes and, although these more "classical" works often have short sections, they seem to defy "dipping", demanding an end-to-end reading plus the feeling that it is also necessary to read the learned editorial notes accompanying the texts.

"This is not the case with Brian's work and there is the feeling that the work is by one who has had to surmount difficulties in his life (see the short narrative by the author in the book's introduction) and has experience of the University of life and hard knocks.

"The typical poem is "Haiku" like in form, comprising short stanzas making for easy access and understanding of the author's experience of the human condition.  Perhaps some could have benefitted by presentation in sonnet form which is still a brief mode expressing meaning succinctly in 14 lines with the last two a neat summary of what has gone before. 

"Several of the poems were clearly rooted in contemporary and local life hereabouts.  "Derelict Worship" although written before the time of Interregnum for the four churches of our benefice, speaks a timely warning of the might-be where "etched words and shimmering glass" are covered with chipboard "eyes closed to the light of God".  Retrenchment of Christian public worship has occurred too often elsewhere - beware Ryburn Valley!

"Bags in the trees" brilliantly uses the image of often seen unsightly plastic bags lodged irremovably by the wind in autumn branches.

"There is a good wide ranging sweep of life here but to prove the "tongue in cheek" claim as this being a work by the next William Shakespeare: perhaps he is on the way but we will have to wait for further products for confirmation!"

Jim McAndrew

WITHOUT US THERE IS ONLY MUD #pocketpoetry By Brian Kinlan

Reviewed by Verity Mann, January ‘14

Brian Kinlan’s collection of poems takes us into the world of the tree marked for felling.  It is a preternatural world of dreams and imagination where a proud ‘giant cloud bearer’ once held court with ‘feathered sky flyers’ and reacts with anger and majesty against the men who fell him, transport him off and utilize his timber. 

Kinlan’s succinct poetry, shifts a veil of reality.  We recognize the mechanical processes by which the tree is processed, but, with our emotions on the side of the fearful, angry, and ultimately defiant tree, we see ourselves, humanity, as dehumanized.  Ours is a world of power, arrogance, action and utility.  The natural world of the tree, the beauty and might of the elements, the realm of dreams and stories told by the wind – all this has been lost to us in our diminished world where we are content to tend our gardens with bark chippings.

But all is not lost.  The last poem in the collection ‘Life will find a way’ gives us hope of renewal and regrowth.  ‘I hold on to a semblance of my roots/They didn’t take all/ I will grow again and this time will not fall’.  I almost cheered out loud.


Read more about Brian Kinlan

See his gallery with book launch and Phoenix Radio photos