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.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

"Laboratorio" by Simon Barraclough (ed), (Sidekick books, 2015)

This is the result of poet's residency at a science establishment. The 170 people who worked at the establishment plus the poet-in-residence + 2 guest poets were eligible to submit. Unsurprisingly there's a mix of demotic and scientific vocabulary -

  • "Our low-fat ones and zeros/ Replace the fatty longhand" p.17
  • "Another's in orbit,/ tossed to space by an Atlas-V,/ blinking its bits to me by antenna" p.37

I quite liked "Reply All". "The Surfer's Path" is minor but worthwhile. "All Universes are Mathematical" looks like a computer program but isn't a legal one in the languages I know. It includes some logic. I did mathematical logic at university but that was long ago, so I don't know whether the statement is legal let alone interesting. "make_me_a_poem.m" is a legal octave/matlab program but that's all that can be said for it. I wasn't keen on "Gaia" or "What if [doesn't exist] Jupiter". "It" might be good - it's a bit beyond me. "Missal", despite its odd indentation, has some quotable passages -

  • "on a journey with no Jupiter/ no planetary airbag/ behind the dash"
  • "The carp have their own constellations/ but the data's dirty/ hazed by pond scum"
  • "Sometimes my mind is a cleanroom/ a poem the only contaminant"

Other reviews

  • Becky Varley-Winter (Sabotage reviews) (Overall, a worthwhile project, and full marks to Sidekick Books for their thoughtful presentation.)

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