Des Mannay

Sod ’em – and tomorrow (2020)


Des Mannay’s debut collection explodes with a ferociously tender no to a country managing cruelty and normalising a world where the poor and sick are genteelly disappeared. Mannay’s greatest poetry, like ‘And the Dead Shall Rise’, emerges through many histories deep to blast elegy through the mine-buried, torn up by fracking. This is the real right thing.


ISBN: 978-1-906742-78-2-1-1 Category: Tags: , ,

Praise and Poems

Lynch Mob
for Rashan Charles

CCTV footage
murder in
a corner shop
lynching dressed
up as
stop and search

What colour is
your hatred officer?
I see you and
fear for my sons

You used to
lynch in cells
now in our streets as well
we must claim
them back

Our anger is
the colour
of justice
our defence
No justice – no peace.


They Call Me

They call me Atticus
‘coz I live in an attic

They call me Platypus
because I duck my bills

They call me often
until they’ve had their fill

They call me sicknote
because I’m often ill

They call me a cab
but never pay the meter

They call me ‘Mr Loverman’
but hope I’ll never meet her

They call me an alien
though I’m not from outer space

They call me ‘Johnnie foreigner’
although I’m from this place

They call me wildcat
when I go on strike

They sound like Norman Tebbit
when they say, “On yer bike!”

They call me Ivan
when I’ve an awful cough

They call me a dosser
when I’m sleeping rough

All the things they call me
won’t catch me when I fall

I’d prefer they didn’t
call me anything at all


Des pulls no punches. It’s a real read, a hard read…  A different Cardiff, a different Wales… where the earliest Black immigrants found work, love and a future. Des’s heritage. ‘On the death of Muhammad Ali’ is heartbreakingly brilliant: past, present and future combine, as they do in so many here.  – Attila the Stockbroker

Performative, funny, passionate… an important voice – from police racism to the death of Muhammad Ali. In this thrilling collection, Mannay speaks eloquently of experiences that need to be shared, need to be yelled about.  – Jonathan Edwards, winner of the 2014 Costa Book Award for Poetry and Editor of Poetry Wales

Loud when it comes to racial stereotyping, police brutality, literary decapitation… Mannay’s work speaks of the simple things in life, made complicated by the greed of humanity.  – Eric Ngalle Charles, Editor of Hiraeth-Erzolirzoli: A Wales-Cameroon anthology

Fervent, funny, outraged, outrageous. – Amy Wack, Poetry Editor for Seren Books

Passionate poetry with an accent on Welsh.  – Tim Wells, shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

Mixes personal and political with the guile of a contender’s jab and weave, backed up with a knockout hook line and sinker. … a blazing debut collection. – Peter Raynard, Proletarian Poetry

Powerful, political, affecting words, I felt them go through me, just the right amount of pathos and black comedy shot through it like dark bullets.  – Clare Ferguson-Walker, multi award-winning poet/performer/artist


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