Growing Places – Polly Stretton

Polly Stretton’s latest collection of poetry Growing Places is based around different locations where Polly ‘grew’, like Malvern, Leigh and others, and also covers her fantasy places, where, she says ‘much of one’s growing is done’.

Neil Leadbeater has reviewed Growing Places for ‘Write Out Loud’ and says:

“Reading this collection I was struck by Stretton’s lightness of touch, rhythmic vitality, sense of humour, and ability to make even the most domestic of scenes come to life. Her subjects are imbued with a magical quality – “faerie folk” catching “moonlight in jars”, goddesses like Amphitrite, the majesty of the Malverns and the wisdom of trees. This is a collection that really sings. Fully recommended.” Read the full review here.

Growing Places - front cover

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It’s always good to see a review from over the pond, here’s one from Carrie:

Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2021

As with all of Stretton’s poetry, one is immediately drawn into her evocative words and the worlds she creates. The places of the poet’s past leap from the verses, as if the reader is visiting these rich landscapes of England themselves. Add to this the elements of nature, as well as the human characters Stretton brings to life, and the reader is easily transported away:


“Find the Persian pebble-edged river,
cross the candyfloss bridge
to pure graph paper.”




“Rust green spires spring
over yellow tilted shades,
hear bombus choirs sing
above parasol parades.”


Delicious! And proof yet again of why Stretton is one of the few writers who can get a novel-fan like me to read poetry. Highly recommend.



Mad Hatter Reviews


Here’s an extract from Beth O’Brien’s review of Growing Places for Mad Hatter Reviews:


“From the child’s understanding of her parents, to the closeness of two sisters, the poems establish a firm ground of loyalty. ‘Her girls’ is one of my favourite poems of the collection, which opens with the lines ‘We do not share blood, / we share memories’. These memories are of an inseparable nature, of makeup experiments and the ‘hottest, burniest’ holidays. Stretton’s poetry seems to speak delight from the page, the short lines and rhymes making it a joy to read as well as feel.


“Of course, place is very important in this collection, which is divided into sections accordingly. As part one, ‘Malvern’ moves to part two, ‘Malvern Hills’ we escape into nature, silence, slopes, and echoes. The short poems in this section are like bursts of memory, contained like ‘Moonlight in Jars’, held up one by one to show off something else that is beautiful.” Read Beth’s full review here.

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