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Cover photograph: Eleanor Bennett



The Elephant Tests


Matt Merritt



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Publication date: July 2013


ISBN: 978-0-9573847-4-3


Price: £8.99


The Elephant Tests, the third collection of poems from Matt Merritt, takes sheer delight in the full possibilities of language in this study of birds and natural history, travel, personal and universal memory, and even of the occasional elephant too. In the process, it captures the quiet wonder of the fleeting moments that amaze, puzzle and trouble us.

Eco-poetry and exploration are met perfectly with myths and epiphanies; the wide, wild world outside is precisely spoken for, just a moment before taking flight or merging into dusk. This is poetry unafraid of new territories; Matt Merritt pushes out the boundaries of each poem without ever once losing the humour, grace and gentle melancholy at their heart.



Praise for The Elephant Tests:

A poet’s talent follows no maps.  Insight, rueful humour and a perfectly tuned ear make Matt Merritt’s The Elephant Tests an exceptional collection, whose poems absorb and startle.

Here are elephants, benign or brooding, hares, ‘sharp against the last sun’, humans, who ‘lie and wait for the ceiling rose to bloom’, birds, imagined and real: ‘Rain bird (see also yarrow, yappingale, yaffle)’.  Each poem reveals its own richness:  ‘and the last thing you see / will be the last thing you ever expected.’   -   Alison Brackenbury


“I’ve become a pretty ardent Matt Merritt fan in recent years. A more observant and articulate poet is hard to imagine. The Elephant Tests is at least as strong as its two predecessors, whilst also being thematically and stylistically his most ambitious and varied book to date.” – Rory Waterman




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Matt Merritt is a poet and wildlife journalist from Leicester. His third collection, The Elephant Tests, is forthcoming from Nine Arches, and previous publications are hydrodaktulopsychic-harmonica (Nine Arches, 2010), Troy Town (Arrowhead, 2008), and Making The Most Of The Light (HappenStance, 2005). He blogs at