Ian Humphreys (a published student)
April 2019
Nine Arches Press

About the publication

In Zebra, a boy steps tentatively from the shadows onto a strobe-lit dancefloor. Ian Humphreys’ much-anticipated debut shimmers with music, wit and humour while exploring mixed identities, otherness, and coming-of-age as a gay man in 1980s Manchester. A heady cocktail of the playful, political and mythical, Humphreys’ Zebra is also a creature of opposites – light and dark, countryside and cityscape, highs and lows. The collection moves from semi-rural England to the metropolitan hubs of Hong Kong, London and New York, circling its subjects, often finding the uncanny in the familiar, always drawing the reader centre-stage.


In all of its magnificent bounty Zebra must be one of the poetry collections of 2019.

The Yorkshire Times

Bare Branch is beautifully precise and balanced, exquisitely weighted, full of delicate exactness… with a clever image of mah jong tiles “clattering like tiny feet through the house”, it is an extraordinary feat of tact and complexity.

Poetry Review

Zebra reads not like a debut, but the virtuoso singing of an assured voice.


A powerful, moving, original body of work.

Jean Sprackland

Glorious in every sense of the word, this is an important book, and I am very grateful for it.

Clare Shaw

Ian has an enviable gift of finding final lines of poems, many of which are seared on the surface of my memory.

Mona Arshi