Two very different collections with lots of reasons to go and purchase them/order them straight to the sofa spot you like to partake in higher intellectual pursuits than Come Dine With Me.
Nasty Little Press (that cool publishing universe where seriously respected poets like Luke Wright, John Osborne Salena Godden and Martin Figura all reside) have a lovely initiative with the help of The Arts Council called Nasty Little Intro where they select their bet on the next big thing and pour all of that talent and promise into a small (and pleasingly convenient to carry) collection.
Previous Nasty Little Intro poets include Foyle Young Poet of the Year winner Amy Blackmore. Alex Gwyther is one of 2012’s bet and he’s one of ours too so we’re heartily glad Nasty Little Press agree. Subject matter ranges from drinking man observations on a Saturday night to the phenomena that was the Christmas truce during WWI. The limited edition collection is available at a very affordable £2 from Nasty Little Press (email them if you are ordering from outside of the UK) Oh and Nasty Little Press makes no profit from your purchase so the artist receives the full benefit of your support and can go on to make more great art to entertain and stimulate us on journeys home and on lazy days. In fact, we hear through the grapevine/forced confession that Alex is developing the WWI poem that has already garnered quite a bit of attention on YouTube into a way-more-ambitious-than-a-one-man-show full theatrical piece. For the students/financially challenged artists out there who want to try before you buy you can also read Alex’s collection at The Southbank Centre’s Poetry Library but it’s definitely a keepsake level book.
The other book we think you should be foaming at the proverbial mouth to get your hands on is Michael Robbins’ hip-hop meets Allen Ginsberg collection Alien vs Predator. It all sounds so exciting, especially for a collection published by one of the Big Six publishing houses. Robbins writes in poem “Plastic Robbins Band” “My heart is lovely, dark and deep,” but by my estimation and The New York Times Robbins’ heart has way more kinetic energy than he claims. His verse jumps from pop culture to high culture in a thoroughly modern way, gleaming inspiration from surface to surface as many of us do in our everyday lives. What made us stand up and take notice beyond the growingly typical claims of capturing the modern affliction and greatness of interchangeability is the chaos Robbins reigns in:
He’s not confessional; I doubt he has much to confess. He’s not particularly soulful. He doesn’t, as yet, have overly much to say. But he has a sky-blue originality of utterance. In one of his rare long poems, “Space Mountain,” you can commence reading almost anywhere…He’ll pack allusions to Philip Larkin and reality television into the same razor-blade stanza, to wit:
My neighbor’s whales keep me up at night.
They may not mean to, but they do.
I turn on Shark Week, plan a killing spree.
I’m all stocked up on Theraflu.
At Poejazzi we love encountering poetry that non poetry readers may find themselves falling in love with given half the chance and Alien vs Predator may just one of those collections. Buy it here.