Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2020

Neil Fulwood - Poems

Neil Fulwood BWV 176 Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding (after J.S. Bach) Compress the human soul into a logic box, make the first choice something daring or shy. Everything down the line precedes from this.   Fast forward: no delivery slots for online shopping, self-isolation locked in place for three more days. A cupboard audit, then: a checking of tinned goods’ expiry dates. Two meals instead of three a day: you’ll make it. You’ll learn to love that overlooked Pot Noodle. They’d laugh at you, who made the other choice: hermits, trappers, mountain men. The kings of social distancing before it even existed.   BWV 20 O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (after J.S. Bach) Do the maths: however many hours times however many days, the view from this window eternally the same. Time’s not exactly in short supply. A grand project’s   what’s called for. Me, I’m working my way through the Bach cantatas. Who on the estate is similarly engaged? Who’s undertaking the final and definitive curation of Irish

Review - "The Shooting Gallery" by Carrie Etter

Steven Waling The Shooting Gallery by Carrie Etter (Verve Press £7.50) The trouble with Carrie Etter’s latest collection of prose poems it that, on a surface level, it is deceptively easy to read. There are no convoluted sentences or difficult words, nothing to figure out about syntax or meaning. What makes you stop and read again is the subject matter: the first 12 are descriptions of the surreal anti-war drawing of the Czech artist Toyen. The second dozen concerns school shootings in America since Columbine. The strange line drawings of Toyen are partly based on a children’s game, and of course the shooting ranges where people can practice firing at targets. The drawings include the head of a rabbit, the head of a screaming woman and the wings of dismembered birds. Drawn during the 2 nd World War, they are potent dream symbols of the horrors of conflict. Etter’s poems are partly descriptive of the pictures, but they also suggest the lost possibilities and lives distorted and d

Review - "Homer Street" by Laurie Duggan

Ian Brinton "Homer Street" by Laurie Duggan, Giramondo Poets. 128pp   The third section of Laurie Duggan’s new collection of poems is titled ‘Afterimages’, an appropriate title which casts a glance over the shoulder at moments gone. The section engages with a wide range of paintings and painters, from Tintoretto to Tony Tuckson and the first of these short poems is a two-line comment on the Norfolk painter Michael Andrews. I think that istrikes a very pertinent note in these times of semi-virtual reality: What if all the people you think you know were just spots of light on canvas?  The image brings to mind a tiny moment in one of the Samuel Beckett German Diaries that are due to be published by Suthkamp Verlag and Faber next year. Writing about his day trip from Berlin to Potsdam in January 1937 Beckett notes ‘Suddenly with mist fallingly wonderful red light like an extension of the leaves that a group of women are raking together, against the grey néant of the Ju

Review - "Birmingham Canal Navigation" by Cliff Yates

Alan Baker “Birmingham Canal Navigation” by Cliff Yates, pub. KFS. 34pp. £6.50 I first encountered the poetry of Cliff Yates when he gave a reading at Wired Café in Nottingham at which I bought his collection “Jam”. It seemed to me that he was a distinctive voice with an recognisable style which is hard to categorise; not “experimental” but clearly influenced by recent modernist writers while, at the same time, funny, conversational, anecdotal and nostalgic. This new collection from KFS is clearly in Yates’s signature style and as the title suggests is a celebration of his native Birmingham. The poetry in "Birmingham Canal Navigation" deals with day-to-day life in a British city, family and domestic scenes, Sunday afternoon walks and lunch break at the local factory. The poems are funny and the poetic persona behind them is engaging and self-deprecating, and the whole has a slightly absurd, almost surrealist feel; working at the Custard Factory, performing the Tai Chi Spr

Ralph Hawkins - Six Poems

Ralph Hawkins Recycled Poem there was a knothole for a nuthatch right in the middle of the poem he ringed three birds and let them fly through the meadow towards the bat-box the fat engine driver has blonde hair or is that the station master at Hitchin I dream of a wet-room with a whirlpool buttering you up in the corridor there you will encounter the slow descent of outpatients, peg-legs full of wormholes my mind went blank coming to terms with the scale of a classical economy column after column it would all kick-off later in a border dispute or the bar round the corner there a red chicken beside a glazed toffee-apple will talk to the trees, whispers Louise Historical Document he sat at his table and made room for thought it was quite a large room likely as not there was a paternoster and some symbols concerning current economic thinking his mother had spent most of her life in the kitchen smoking a Senior Service as she rested from her lifelong chores she had never encountered the