Miriam Gamble's second collection takes its title from unlicensed broadcasting. Here, the marginalia of prophecy coexist with and counter voices of authority, voices that are at once eerie and depressingly recognisable. An artist steals back paintings, leaving the money in their wake, and scores a cameo on Crimewatch; a figure from medieval memento mori art finds himself up against a consumer deaf to the language of symbolism; animal anti-heroes spit in the face of well-meaning, or not so well-meaning, human interest. Throughout, biological impulses are sparked then thwarted by entropic systems - creatures and humans alike find themselves steered rather than steering, engulfed by repeating patterns which nullify the efforts of the individual life. Pirate Music questions the narratives, including those forged by art itself, by which we shape the world to suit our own devices and steel ourselves against 'what we cannot name or see'.
'These poems - understand the relation between form and violence, understand that craft and control can be acts of brute force too - against the other, even against the self. The Squirrels Are Dead is a collection of extraordinary formal versatility and skill' - Fran Brearton, Edinburgh Review. 'Experimental and wide-ranging, her work is by turns lyrical, surreal and quirkily humorous. Her debut collection shows that she is already a writer of considerable achievement and one who looks set to promise more in the future' - David Cooke, The North. 'What separates her from the thousands of other poets with a gift for sharp description, is the complexity and tautness of her arguments - Gamble's intelligence is what makes these poems a pleasure to read' - John Clegg.
Miriam Gamble was born in Brussels in 1980 and grew up in Belfast. She studied at Oxford and at Queen's University Belfast, where she completed a PhD in contemporary British and Irish poetry. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2007, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award in 2010. Her pamphlet, This Man's Town, was published by tall-lighthouse in 2007. Her first book-length collection, The Squirrels Are Dead, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2010 and won her a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011. Her second collection, Pirate Music, is published by Bloodaxe in 2014. She lectures in creative writing at Edinburgh University.