When I open a book of poetry and see blocks of prose-like text I am always, without exception, filled with a sense of disappointment. Like I haven’t got what I wanted at all.
Simon Armitage‘s latest, Seeing Stars, is full of blocks of text. But, they’re engaging. I read the whole lot of this in one sitting, then carried on dipping in and out for several days afterwards. I really like them. There’s a bit of “and then and then and then” enthusiasm akin to a kid’s “What I did on my holiday’s” homework, but that is clearly part of the charm.
Here is one. A lovely one, read by Mr Armitage himself – The English Astronaut (youtube link). There are a couple more on there – take a look.
My absolute favourite (today) is The Cuckoo though, which has elements of The Truman Show. It’s about a boy who grows up to find out one day that everyone he cared about was fake, acting the part on a government contract that had just ended.
[...] James could have punched a hole in her chest and ripped out the poisonous blowfish of her heart.[...]
I suspect if you ask me tomorrow, I’ll have another favourite. Perhaps The Accident.
[...] a few moments later their knees touched under the wooden table. For him it was like a parachute opening. For her it was like something involving an artichoke. [...]