Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Tuesday, 4 February 2003

"The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You" by Paul Farley (Picador, 1998)

I like many of his ideas (I can read whole poetry books liking next to no ideas, so this is quite something). The book has 49 pages with poetry on them, which doesn't sound like much but that's about 40 pages worth of text - his lines are nearly the width of the page, varying little in length. Many poems have a rhyme pattern that's more-or-less adhered to, and there are metrical patterns too. Whether this is considered "formally assured" (as in the blurb) or formally slack probably depends on what you're familiar with. When (as in "A Minute's Silence") he doesn't use rhyme but still has 4-line stanzas one wonders what the point of the form is - the line/stanza breaks seem rather arbitrary. If you like early-Armitage(?) observation - "deckchairs offseason", "chamois frozen tight into bucket", "Che stares down onto an unmade bed", "spotlit five-a-side cage" - you'll like this book.

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