From the direct trajectory of her first collection, Straight Ahead, Clare Shaw's second collection Head On turns an unflinching gaze into startling new territories. Structured by interweaving themes of political and personal conflict, the book begins and ends with the recurrent necessity of speaking out. And this is a book which speaks in equal measures, in precise and uncompromising language, about love and tenderness; violence and brutality. Clare Shaw writes to speak to the world. But first and foremost she speaks directly to the reader, through words which shock, engage, disturb and delight. This is a book which - in its content and its impact - sets out to establish and to challenge the limits of language. Exploring with unflinching focus and intent some of her darkest territory yet - but returning, as always, to the light -she offers us a furious but ultimately hopeful exploration of the world as she lives it.