The autistic alice

There are two acts of recovery in this book – one of a lost brother, and another of a lost self. Joanne Limburg commemorates both in her third collection, The Autistic Alice.

In its title-sequence she uses Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass to explore her own experiences as a girl and young woman. Growing up with undiagnosed Asperger’s, she often identified with Alice, a logical and curious child adrift in an arbitrary world. Collaging lines and phrases drawn from the two Alice books, she creates a disturbingly effective language to express the nature, discomfort and alienation of autistic experiences. In her neurodiverse verse, a text can become a rabbit-hole to another world, or a mirror.

The poems that make up the book’s opening sequence, The Oxygen Man, originally published as a pamphlet, were written in response to the death of Limburg’s younger brother, a brilliant chemist who took his own life in 2008. They follow her as she visits the mid-Western town where he lived, worked and died; range back over their shared childhood; and look ahead as she tries to work out what it means to be the one who stays behind.

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bookside down

The poems in Bookside Down are written about and for 21st Century children, who are into their friends, the TV, Wiis, DS's, computers, collectibles and things that make them laugh. They deal with important matters such as difficult schoolmates, daft parents, impossible siblings, the last days of the dinosaurs and the death of planet earth. In this book you will find rhyming poems, non-rhyming poems, poems that are conversations and poems that tell stories. You could read them to yourself, read them aloud, or even use them as patterns to write your own poems

Joanne Limburg’s funny and tender Bookside Down sees things deliciously from the children’s point of view. The poems are set in the worlds children inhabit: the home, the playground, school, pocket money, TV and friendship. With a natural story-teller’s timing, a poet’s ear and a splendid eye for both detail and fantasy Limburg leads us through the jokes and puzzles of a childhood all children will recognise.
— George Szirtes

THE oxygen man

The poems that make up 'The Oxygen Man' were written in response to the death of the author's younger brother, a brilliant chemist who took his own life in 2008. They follow Limburg as she visits the mid-Western town where her brother lived, worked and died, range back over their shared childhood, and look ahead as she tries to work out what it means to be the one who stays behind.

Joanne Limburg’s The Oxygen Man is an honest, difficult lurch through the aftermath of the suicide of her brother. It calls to mind the extended epic epitaph on the same situation, Anne Carson’s Nox. This pamphlet expresses a ‘life goes on’ sensibility alongside a grappling with true grief.
— Poetry London
Limburg’s universe appears to be constantly twisting away from perception even as she pins it down in lines of singular economy.
— Poetry Book Society


'Paraphernalia' is a fine, capacious handbag/hold-all of a word. Practical as well as attractive, it can stretch to accommodate all kinds of contents, many of which Joanne Limburg pulls out and considers in "Paraphernalia": telephones and tin-openers, vacuum cleaners and breast pumps, needles and drips, alarms and scanners. There are objects that help us and encumber us, that we lean and hide behind, that we love and treasure, or punish and blame. Joanne Limburg's poems look at the ways in which our bodies and minds, too, can themselves be broken down into odds and ends, can be useful or useless clutter. She examines our different parts, our skin and hair, our faces, our brains and blood cells, our thoughts and our words.

Limburg’s perception is fine, and her wit engaging... She is adept at lifting a poem into strangeness, tilting the ordinary... She creates special worlds...crucial aspects of our lives are held up to the light and returned to us inventively, with humour and apparent ease. Joanne Limburg is a breath of new air.
— Poetry London
The wit is exhilarating.
— Jewish Chronicle
After just two volumes, Joanne Limburg’s work has already found a distinctive niche. Her wry lyricism… manages the tricky feat of simultaneously amusing and moving the reader. She takes pleasure in exposing the woozy rhythms of modern life, finding moments of poignancy through a combination of genuine wit and equally genuine weirdness.
— Selectors' Comment, PBS Bulletin


Limburg wears comic camouflage to stalk serious subjects, from envy and guilt to bereavement and its tangled aftermath. Her often boisterous poems celebrate the defiant vulnerability of modern women, exploring their lives as daughters, mothers, friends and rivals.

Limburg possesses that rarest of talents: she is able to tackle thorny subjects (bereavement, religion, envy, harrassment) with the lightest touch, making you laugh as often as she makes you think.
— Amazon Review
Oxygen Man
By Joanne Limburg
By Joanne Limburg