Never Good at Maths is a collection of contrasts and voices, ruminating on the everyday, our global, and personal passions. Except Maths. (Spoiler Alert) Kate Maxwell’s passion for Maths is not a topic explored in any tangible way. But her poems are delicate and gritty, whimsical, sharp, even if decidedly unnumeric. She paints pictures and tells stories in ever-changing tones and voices. At times satirical or lighthearted, and then deeply moving and personal, many of the poems resonate with raw honesty or humour. With vivid imagery, the underlying beauty of our world is evoked with fresh perspectives.
This is the debut collection of an already published and awarded writer with a well-developed poetic style, and a strong awareness of how language and form work together to convey meaning. To read Kate Maxwell’s poems in Never Good at Maths is to enter a world of social conscience, of ironic humour and satire at the expense of pretentiousness, privilege and inhumanity, and to listen to the not-so-small personal voice of the poet. A recurrent device is that of poetic ventriloquy, of subject matter spoken through a persona, to both distance the poet and reinforce her stance. In each case, Maxwell’s language invokes the spoken idiom to good effect.
– Margaret Bradstock, author of Brief Garden