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Some responses to “The Goldsmith’s Apprentice” (published 18/4/2018)  Winner of Rubery International Poetry Award, July 2018.

“The Goldsmith’s Apprentice opens with a wonderful sequence of poems about work. From glassworkers to glass eye fitters, these poems understand the routines and insanities of what people do to earn a crust, revealing with great empathy the impact of industry on lives. This wide-ranging collection moves outwards from there to a broad scope of subjects, from ties to lost campervans, from an old man at the gym to a moving final sequence about a grandchild. Now humorous, now powerful, crammed with good ideas and great endings, these are accessible poems which are deeply engaged with both the ephemera and the big issues of ordinary lives.More than anything, I value them for their great humanity, their understanding of the power of poetry to celebrate the importance of lives lost to history, tough work or a duff education system. To appropriate the ending of a wonderfully moving poem about a nurse, these poems, coming as they do out of the best motivations and the deepest artistic rigour, are The Real Thing.”

Jonathan Edwards
Winner of The Costa Award for Poetry

This is a fresh, nuanced and humane collection of poems with its eye and ear to the world – to the world of work in particular, and to the craft of survival. It is a wonderful and generous book. The poems welcome you in and hold your attention with their deftness, attentiveness and joy-in-making.

David Morley  Winner of The Ted Hughes Award

“Chandler’s portraits of working men and women transcend oppression and celebrate the workers’ skill and spirit. ‘Chemo Nurse’ sings with authenticity, recreating the banter of a brilliant bedside manner. There’s a tremendous amount going on within the collection’s 67 pages. ‘The Executioner’s Tale’, based on the account of a Filipino policeman, reads like the unflinching reportage of Dan O’Brien and lends a haunting, troubling humanity to the hardest of jobs while poems like ‘Skipping’ recollect the simplest pleasures with exquisite, painful nostalgia.”

John Field – from his blog review “Poor Rude Lines”

Keith Chandler’s The Goldsmith’s Apprentice is a fascinating collection of poems which explores humanity with great empathy and skill. Chandler’s style is insightful and accessible, initially probing the working lives of people and revealing the details which make each job, and each subject, extraordinary. It’s powerful and emotive writing about the everyday stuff we could so easily choose to walk past and ignore. The Goldsmith’s Apprentice is a triumph; an absorbing and impactful collection of heartfelt poems which should be on the wishlists of glass-eye fitters, fishermen, politicians – and everybody in between.

Victoria Pickup – from ‘Everybody’s Reviewing’ BlogSpot’

Some Responses to “The English Civil War Part 2” 

“And now, with a fanfare, comes the Court Jester, Keith Chandler, though as good jesters do, he speaks unwelcome truths.  The title-poem is a hilarious futuristic re-run of the English Civil War; the most serious sequence is a chilly set of poems, ‘Postcards from Auschwitz’, in different personae. This book is enormously readable, closing with two memorable longer poems, one on the East Coast floods of 1953 and a witty piece in the persona of escapologist Harry Houdini.  Read this hilarious and mordant book.”
 Peter Scupham, Poetry Review

“I cannot tell you how much pleasure ‘The English Civil War Part 2’ gave me – comic genius!”
 Robert Potts (on the title poem)

“A spellbinding book – tremendously impressive, entertaining, moving, funny.   And original.  So many poems I come across these days don’t catch my interest – they don’t seem to be ‘about’ anything.  These poems are always  ‘about’ something.”
Anthony Thwaite

“It is a humane, funny, sometimes biting, very English collection.  There is a strong apocalyptic theme running through it, from the title poem to ‘The Gap’ at the end – a very fine poem.”
George Szirtes

“Magnificent work from a craftsman of the highest calibre.  Very highly recommended”
Peter Woolridge, The Review

Some Reviews of the Earlier Collections

“Consistently enjoyable: every poem is adeptly constructed, communicating its idea with force and economy.  The lack of pretension and fuss, and the sense of these poems being compelled by their author’s passionate involvement with his subject, make this a book well worth getting hold of.”
Vernon Scannel (The Sunday Telegraph)

“His angle on the world is often fresh and funny…equipped with formidable confidence in the face of uncomfortable truths.  With taut grip on character and a precise eye for detail, the controlled explosions in Chandler’s work have the right combination of violence and unexpectedness for them to succeed”
Rennie Parker (Critical Survey) 

“A genuine poet, remarkable for his acuteness of observation and unshowy craftsmanship.”
George Szirtes (Poetry Review)

“Hilariously satirical, throwing out the home truths in spadefulls, much of ‘A Different Kind of Smoke’ is so good that it demands to be read out loud.  In his craft, Chandler has been patient, rather than prolific and is the better writer for it.  He has been uncompromising in the development of a style that is literate as it is accessible.  He deserves an ever-expanding readership
Will Daunt (Envoi)

 “Various poems here pick up quirky habits and actions, always with a smile towards our weaknesses.  A stunning group of concentration camp poems are as moving as any I have read on this subject.”
Ann Born (Poetry Salzburg Review)

 “Chandler’s poetic presence is compassionate and searching. There is much to praise here.”
David Annwn (The London Magazine)

3 Revies of The Grandpa Years (published 10/12/2014)

“In these wry reflections on aging and, inevitably, mortality, Keith Chandler confronts us with a vision that is by turns brutally honest, wise and comically (anti-) heroic. ‘Rewind’ is a tour de force in which the poet convincingly imagines the experience of regression to the womb.”      – Jeremy Page,  The Frogmore Papers

There are serious questions running through this pleasing pamphlet, such as why it is that we become
besotted with toddlers. It is these questions and the recognition of mortality that elevates this sequence
from a private tribute to a life event into a lyrical consideration of change and time.
                                                                            Jan Fortune, Envoi
There are strong poems here on the black comedy ofaging and consolations to be found in the company of
grandchildren, but Chandler is best when writing about the invisibility of the old. The title poem is a
wonderful answer to Larkin’s ‘Toad’s Revisited’.           Andy Croft, The Morning Star