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Allie Kerper's debut collection gets close up with human intimacy. What's really important in human relationships? Kerper's startling imagery and diction never settle for easy, conventional answers. Love, faith, sex, identity, queerness - all come under her microscope, and are viewed with precision, rigour and tenderness.


'I absolutely adored Pale Hairs Reach Between Us. This debut collection is simply staggering in its range, its complexity, and its stunning ability to sing the extraordinary within the ordinary. The strange and the domestic are sharply and often gruesomely intertwined in these poems, whilst Kerper’s distinctive humour and deep tenderness leave the reader moved by pieces that portray intimate encounters in searingly honest ways. Allie Kerper is one of the brightest stars in the poetry firmament today; I can’t wait to see what she does next.' — Carolyn Jess-Cook


'In 1972 the artist Ana Mendieta glued men’s beards onto her face in the series ‘Facial Hair Transplants’, exploring the transfer of ‘hair from one person to another’. Pale Hairs Reach Between Us achieves something similarly intimate, disconcerting, disruptive and uncanny in language-form. Allie Kerper’s poetics is one of follicles, prickles, fluff, roots and DNA, in which exquisite turns of phrase quite literally make the hairs on your neck and arms stand to attention. I’ll return to this gorgeous book regularly, like a salon, aware every reading of new textual growth, for the special kind of emotional not-quite-therapy that the best poetry provides.' — Colin Herd

Pale Hairs Reach Between Us by Allie Kerper (ISBN: 9781916405189)

  • Glass Hummingbird as Queer Symbol


    How fitting this pain
    as ink assaults thin skin.


    The tattooist mimics glass,
    breaks blood vessels


    drawing wings
    and needle beak that will chip


    if I pick the scabs.
    Colours wave around the bird


    a flag that stings
    when my skin tries


    to twist out from under it.
    I clench my teeth


    remind myself denial
    had its own kind of pain


    a nectar this creature
    sucks out of me.

  • Allie Kerper is an Edinburgh-based poet originally from the US. She has earned too many Creative Writing degrees, most recently from the University of Glasgow. She works as an editor of university course materials designed for distance learning. Pale Hairs Reach Between Us is her debut poetry collection.

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