Neptune Blue

Neptune Blue is my second full collection and was released by Salt Publishing in April 2011. In September 2013, a new hardback edition was reissued.

Some reviews

"Neptune Blue is a dazzlingly inventive collection and a worthy successor to Barraclough’s critically acclaimed first collection. It is a book with a tongue in its cheek, its head way above the clouds and its feet firmly on that ‘blue-green baubled gobsmacker’ we call earth".—The Graft Review (read full review)

"Terse, offbeat vignettes are where Barraclough excels but the highlight is the book's opener, 'We'll Always Have CGI Paris', which blurs social commentary, romantic comedy and rhythmic intensity to unlikely effect."—Ben Wilkinson in The Guardian (read full review)

"Barraclough writes with the energy and playfulness of someone for whom poetry can continually, and must, be re-invigorated and re-examined in terms of what it can do ... his work is delivered so winningly that often it can rampage straight through a list of classic poetic Don'ts and you go along with it anyway. Even the notes are like excited recommendations and invitations designed to set you thinking and investigating.—Dr. Fulminaire (read full review)

" A witty, playful and sometimes rueful collection. Barraclough is a delicately melancholic observer of the human condition but yes, there is a subtle kind of joy in this book."—painted, spoken

Hearts and their volatile emotions here are expressed through stark imagery including magpies, anti-personnel mines, characters from literature like Ms Havisham, pizzas and chewing gum. What strikes you most having read the final poem is the relentless sense of inventiveness, energy and the abundance of ideas.Matt Haigh

We'll Always Have CGI Paris 

Open on the galaxy, dolly zoom

through Doppler shifting stars, leave the local planets

in our wake, brush off the Moon

and rummage through the clouds to find

the crouching continent where Paris piggybacks.

Pinpoint the pyramid, dogleg along the Seine

until the camera starts to weave between the struts

of youknowwhat and youknowwhere

to finish on us kissing in the festive, fireworky air.


But we were never there. My sitcom kept me

in LA, your slasher movie debut

saw you junketing in hotel rooms out east.

We shot green screen on different days: my face

a balloon taped to a broom, your waist a tailor’s dummy;

our foggy breath was lifted from Titanic;

the cutaways to clasping hands were cut in

from a jewellery ad as all of Paris waited

to be pixellated, cut and pasted.


But we’ll always have Paris,

although our eye lines never matched

and everything we tried to hold onto

our phantom fingers passed clean through.


Starfish Heart

swabs dead cells

from the jungle gym of my ribs

as it clambers about,

fooling doctors and cardiographs.

I wonder why it has five limbs?

Something to do with Fibonacci

and clutching at straws.

And starfish don’t even have hearts.




Et ellu é bellu e radiante cun grande splendore

                    — St. Francis of Assisi, Cantico delle Creature

I heard of one who thought himself too much i’the Sun.

I had to laugh. And blast a billion lethal particles

across your path. You say you want your place in the Sun,

so be it, but know that I am Heaven and Hell in one,

your saintly haloes and your branding tongs,

an inquisition which no atom can resist,

a thirteen million Kelvin kiss. I must admit

I’m one that loved not wisely but too well.


Consider my poor off sprung offspring;

there’s one that’s just been taken into care;

two cold and gassy monsters so remote they never think

of picking up the phone or sending me a probe;

a starlet sucking up my limelight, barring me from all her shows;

a bully bending comets on his knee and tossing them my way;

a red-faced tin pot despot sulking in his rot;

a hellish vixen boiling off each residue of love;

an iron bullet—kryptonite to any star—poised above my heart.


But here she comes: my one success, the fertile fluke,

dreaming in her just-right, just-so bed,

her arm thrown back across her brow.

I mustn’t get too close. I mustn’t be so ardent.

I’ll learn to keep my distance, for now.