Books for Independent Thinkers

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  • Paperback
  • 64 pages
  • ISBN 978-1-852248-92-5
  • Published March 2012
  • Publisher Bloodaxe Books


Stray is a book about strays – human and animal – and about straying. It’s about the lost and being lost, searching for home, and it’s about the extraordinary places we sometimes discover when we’re off the beaten track, deliberately or accidentally off-course. It’s sometimes a noun and it’s sometimes a verb – almost a command.

As Allan’s mind strays and roams, he recasts himself as astronaut Buzz Aldrin. He may be lost in space, but he has an amazing time up there! A feral child becomes a dog to find her way back home. Medea fetches up in Sheffield, semi-wild, living in a van with a goat on a rope. She’s washing dishes in a Sheffield pub when in walks footballer Jason… Cesare the somnambulist has lost himself in sleep. It’s only when he falls from the path and is dying that he can wake…

In many of these poems objects matter. They are the things we think with, we remember with them, they confirm or reduce us. Sometimes they help to identify who or where we are. Often they’re broken, or themselves lost, separated from their home or from each other: the letter, torn and scattered, the diminishing number of objects on a mother’s table, a museum’s broken and displaced treasures.

"Dark, funny, wise, terrifying. She is searingly matter-of-fact about the most painful recesses of the human heart… She dances round every corner with a grace that many more seasoned writers would die for."
Jo Shapcott

"Dalton looks in the face of despair and tells its story with unnerving calm."
Siân Hughes, TES

"She seeks out the fractured minds and lives that live in darkness and reconstructs them with tenderness and skill."
Tracey Herd, Stand

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Stray