Sunday, August 08, 2010

Getting back to writing a little about some of the poetry books I've purchased over the last year, here are some thoughts on Colin Will's latest poetry collection, The Floorshow at the Mad Yak Cafe. It's a collection of forty-one poems which range in setting from the Scottish mountains to, as the title suggests, Tibet. The last eight poems in the book are a sequence of Tibet poems.

What I enjoy most about Colin's poetry is his sonic awareness. As readers of this blog will know by now, I love explosions of words, repetitions of sounds, tightly compact syntax. So I love to read a couple of lines such as: "...Felled for fires, / fodder, frames for shelters, sod-clad" in Colin's poem 'The Long Walk In', it makes my tongue tingle! I think this is a lovely poem, it's about the walk in to the base of a mountain before the climb. It ends: "...A bare glen, deserted, / yet full of things that bustle, whistle, rustle, wrestle / with thoughts of getting up, never coming down". 
Another example of the density of language in Colin's poems comes from 'Old Campaigner': "Seasonal fogs drift inland, / tock-tocky beetles genuflect / to tip condensing drops mouthward".
I like the vein of humour in Colin's poems too, the last few lines of his poem 'Hide and Find' made me smile: "Below a grizzled crag I'm checked out / by a falcon, who can see / my inner pigeon".

Colin's background is in science which, I believe, contributes to the sense of precision in his use of language and imagery. My favourite poem in the collection is 'The To-Do List'. Each verse begins with  "I must...", following an interesting sequence of things on the narrator's to-do list from purchasing a supply of Post-It notes, beginning a history of the rice cake, arranging the flowers in an alphabet of colour to "I must start to cut you / out of my life". I love the sequence of the poem from the beautiful imagery in the first verse of the walls covered in post-it notes being likened to tree trunks in Mexico "smothered in a million motionless / Monarch butterflies", the intriguing second and third verses of the narrator beginning his history of the rice cake and flower arranging by letters to the slightly diorientating introduction of  'you' in the fourth stanza which then goes on to state "I'll begin with forgetfulness, those little acts of careless negligence" and ends beautifully with - "sooner or later / I'll introduce the closed door, / the unanswered knock, / the separate wing".
Relationships, landscapes and tightly knit language in abundance, an enjoyable collection.


Titus said...

Thanks Marion, interesting review that made me want to read more.

Marion McCready said...

I'm glad it did, thankyou!

A.Z. Foreman said...
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