> Skip to content

Confident, seductive, and thrillingly assured, this vital collection is an enthralling introduction of one of our finest emerging new British poets.

Opening with a sequence of snapshots in a family album, Adam O’Riordan’s eye-opening first collection traces a clear, bold path from the past to the present, working with memory, and seeking familiarity in a world of disappearing acts and vanishing points.

O’Riordan’s poetic landscape ranges widely across space as well as time. From the ‘blackened lung’ of Manchester to the lonely late-night Google searches for the traces lovers leave behind, many of the poetic journeys in this collection start with an indelible detail and open out onto new and astonishing landscapes.

The collection culminates in an exquisite sonnet sequence, ‘Home’, examining the lives of William and Dorothy Wordsworth as seen through their domestic objects, and placing them, talismanic, against the places sacred in O’Riordan’s own personal history. Family, friends and other presences are beautifully evoked: the poet looks back, but nostalgia is sharpened by direct, modern, sensuous imagery.

Confident, seductive, and thrillingly assured, this vital collection is an enthralling introduction of one of our finest emerging new British poets.


Precise and attentive, O'Riordan has the painter's eye for detail and the pianist's touch for sounding the right notes.

Simon Armitage

These musical, deftly patterned poems are the products of a determined intelligence. They make for a convincing and sustained debut.

Adam Foulds

Adam O'Riordan brings an understated music to poems of birth, death and love, proving that novelty needn't be ostentatious. His poem on 'The Leverets', "Clawed from its nest into the cold world / sudden and bright and, in an instant, over", stopped me in my tracks.

Sarah Crown, Guardian

This collection does not read like a debut. It has an established feel - as if Adam O'Riordan, who is in his mid-20s, had been around for decades. Only that makes him sound dusty, and he isn't. The unfashionable beauty of this collection - shining, musical, aloof - is that it is intimate without being confessional... This collection is a most finished beginning.

Kate Kellaway, The Observer

In the Flesh is an auspicious debut, fill of unforgettable lines and hard-won insights. Adam O'Riordan is the real thing

Hugo Williams

easily one of the best poetry collections in the past decade


Shifts in focus and perspective allow for a fresh and engaging exploration of time-honoured themes. This descriptive and imaginative daring makes In the Flesh a persuasive debut

Ben Wilkinson, TLS

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 15, 2010

    Chatto & Windus

    64 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    January 4, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    64 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Adam O'Riordan

A Herring Famine
When Love Speaks


The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Poems Of Wilfred Owen
Charles Bukowski
Strange Meetings
Beyond the Lyric
Christmas Blessings
Greetings to Our Friends in Brazil
All Of Us
The War Poems Of Wilfred Owen
The Invention of Angela Carter
Young Eliot
Speak, Old Parrot
The Chameleon Poet
Bernard Shaw
The Pound Era
The Iliad