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Released October 31st 2021 // 36 pages // 978-1-913642-69-3


Morag Smith’s Spoil is a rich and earthy pamphlet harvested from the hills of Cornwall. Smith evokes the altered landscape and poverty of her home county, its tin mines and farms, singing of a singularity that mirrors her own singularity. Smith’s poetry is informed by her Zen Buddhist practise, always attentive to the world around her, a poet ‘swimming harder / trying to touch that impossible line’.

Praise for Spoil


‘In these poems Morag Smith gives utterance to Cornish fore-mothers, the silenced exploited ‘Bal Maidens’ of 19th century tin mining.  Her driven vehement pared-back lyricism also speaks to the widespread poverty of present-day Cornwall that goes unnoticed by tourists. This is a poetry of witness. A forceful linguistic acuity brings to life her time spent living road-side as a New Traveller, with her young children.  This is an original and brilliant debut.’
   - Penelope Shuttle, Lyonesse


Spoil transcends what we know about Cornwall and leads us somewhere deeper. A visceral telling of Smith’s own history, coupled with that of the working landscape’s. It gives me goosebumps every time.’
   - Jennifer Edgecombe, The Grief of the Sea


‘Morag Smith’s dynamic Spoil shows the earthy underbelly of Cornwall, one preoccupied by land and capital, and who has access to it. Meet the 21st century, rabbit-skinning, ‘queens of the road’, driving their trucks to another site ‘hemmed in by dark curves of gorse’, with the ‘landscape emptied’, where ‘The whole idea of home / disintegrates’. Meet the 18th century bal maidens, girls and women breaking stones above the mines, worked into the ground, ‘like I ain’t felt the fist’. In Morag Smith, Kernow has a powerful, essential, contemporary poetic voice.’
   - Katrina Naomi, Wild Persistence

Morag Smith - Spoil