split ends / rooms

Alanna McArdle


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The residue of trauma is ever present in Alanna McArdle’s stunningly-achieved debut poetry collection split ends. These are 12 confrontational poems that swell and contort perspective, conversing with and following one another. McArdle’s words are emotional, arresting, and obtrusive. She writes, “crepuscular, fetid, she sniffs like a fox / screams like a fox” and as the ripples retreat, she leaves readers to decide which way they view the conversation.

Alanna McArdle’s poetics carves for itself a place between insouciant wit and the stingingly vulnerable. It claims agency and reclaims symbolic space over the terrible, the oppressive, by biting down hard on the articulate nerve of the thing. I’m excited by this pamphlet, and so so glad it exists.

—Wayne Holloway-Smith

Alanna McArdle is a writer from London. She has had poetry published in print and online in Shabby Doll House, Prelude Magazine, Poems in Which, For Every Year, and The Chapess, among others, and she was recently included in episode three of the podcast Poets In Bed. Her non-fiction and journalism has featured in Pitchfork, Crack Magazine, The NME, The Talkhouse, Noisey, and Broadly. Her short story ‘Butter’ was shortlisted for the 2018 Desperate Literature short fiction prize.

we have been taught

if you wear the collar

someone will


come with the lead.

New Words is a new series celebrating independent voices in poetry, fiction and prose. Each title is collected in an oversized pamphlet inspired by a 6×7 medium format photo frame. The series is ongoing, edited by Robin Christian and designed by Patrick Fisher.

Purchased by National Poetry Library

Collections: The British Library, Bodleian Library Oxford University, The Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin.