King McGuire says nice things about me!

Bokeh fun

It’s been ages since this happened, but as you know, I haven’t been keeping up with ONS very well lately. But I can’t let this go by without mention: I got a bloody lovely review from The Great McGuire, over at Cheeky Little Article.

Because I am perhaps the laziest poet in the cosmos, I haven’t really done much to market my pamphlet, The Mermaid and the Sailors, which was unofficially launched at StAnza in March 2011 (my laziness is so all-encompassing that I never even got round to an “official” launch… oops). Somehow, I managed to sell out the first run by August just with a few Facebook status updates and the odd mention on my beloved Twitter. As a result, not many reviews have been forthcoming… in fact, this is only the second (the first is here) I’ve received. (I really don’t mind. The idea of being reviewed is kind of scary.)

But McGuire’s smashing, thoughtful, in-depth review is worth a million shorter, more general responses. I love the fact that he starts out with the etymology of my second name (or rather, the adjective “askew”) rather than just leaping in to analysing the book… I particularly like the fact that by the end of the first paragraph I’ve been somehow promoted to Lady Askew (expect this to stick, folks). And he compares me to Neruda. NERUDA. Do reviews get any better?

However, I’m ultimately grateful to McGuire for this: he has totally “got” what it was I was trying to do… what I’m always trying to do. These days, the poetry scene is such that poems like this are what get praised and published. Now, everyone’s different, and to some people, that’s a great poem — but I just aint the kind of writer who could bring myself to keep a straight face while writing a phrase like “jimmies the diasphora,” let alone while shoving it on a line-break so it draws a ton of attention to itself. I’ve started to realise lately that I write the kind of poems that some people look down their noses at, because they’re poems that are, sometimes, as McGuire so sweetly puts it, “wholesome as a loaf.” But that’s my schtick. To some poets, “wholesome as a loaf” might be an insult. My first response to this review was more, “I want to find McGuire right now and hug him!”

So thanks, dude. I owe you a beer!

(The Mermaid and the Sailors is currently, sadly, sold out. A new print run is coming… once I get my butt in gear and send off new proofs to correct the first run’s inevitable typos. Sorry for the delay! You can read more about the book here, though.)


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2 Responses to “King McGuire says nice things about me!”

  1. Gareth Says:

    Hmm, I agree with a great deal McGuire has to say, but am baffled that he thinks “My Daughter Speaking” lacks the strength of other pieces — I find that poem particularly stunning. Just different tastes I guess.

    Oh & happy New Year btw; most chuffed to see that ONS is back in business!

  2. Rachel Fox Says:

    I’ve heard nothing but praise for you and your work - you’ve won things, sold out etc etc. You shouldn’t for a minute think your poems are looked down on! Now mine on the other hand… ( she says. typing this from correctional facility where rhyming habit is quite literally being beaten out of me….).