"Straight Ahead" is Clare Shaw's first collection. Firmly located in the social and physical landscape of northern England, the poems capture intimacy, loss, fragmentation and delight - being alive in all its colours. The book follows the trajectory of a life through childhood, breakdown and love, recording on the way the million sufferings and hopes of everyday life. The poems move rapidly between contrasting experiences and emotions, from violence to madness, yet are held together by Clare Shaw's ever-present love of language, her celebration of sound, rhythm and imagery. These are poems which are - like the lives and the landscapes they record - by turn harsh and tender, humorous and bleak. Dynamic, darkly humorous, and exactingly detailed, they invite the reader into a rich and complex world.