Andrew McMillan

Young poet exploring masculinity and the body

Born in Barnsley, England. Based in Manchester, England, UK

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Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988.

His debut collection physical was the first ever poetry collection to win the Guardian First Book Award; it also won a Somerset Maugham Award, an Eric Gregory Award, a Northern Writers' Award and the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. It was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Polari Prize.

He lectures in Creative Writing at Liverpool John Moores University and lives in Manchester. 

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Extract: 'Urination'

I'm scared of bumping someone while they piss
those Mondays I'm a packhorse        bags hung
swinging around the urinal bodies
and one day      I know      I'll knock someone
and they'll piss their legs     or they'll turn slightly
and show another man their full arc
or they'll fall into their own wet puddle
cock limp     and neither of us will look
or he'll look at me avoiding looking
feigning interest in the hard cream tiles
maybe it's that I dream of being bumped
knocked from my aim by a stranger
the briefest touch during the private act
the toilet is an intimacy
only shared with parents when you are young
and once again when they are older
and with lovers when     say     on a Sunday
morning stretching into the bathroom
you wake to the sound of stream into bowl
and go to hug the naked body
stood with its back to you     and kiss the neck
and taste the whole of the night on there
and smell the morning's pale yellow loss
and take the whole of him in your hand
and feel the water moving through him
and knowing that this is love     the prone flesh
what we expel from the body and what we let inside

Extract: 'Finally'

a day will come       when
woken by the xylophone
of sunthroughblinds
you'll realise

that the beach was not the place
where horses tore the sand
to ribbon

that the scent of him has lifted
from the last of the sheets
that he isn't coming back

that it hasn't rained
but the birds are pretending that it has
so they can sing