Sunday at the Skin Launderette, By Kathryn Simmonds
Sunday 31 August 2008
Rather than giving in to dolefulness — the default mode of poetry past and present — Kathryn Simmonds opts for ebullience and optimism. Borrowing from Ian Dury, she lists "Reasons to Be Cheerful" in a piece entitled "Against Melancholy". Her poems are engaging, witty ideas skilfully executed in a range of forms and she has a good eye, seeing varnished floorboards split water into glassy baubles, or noticing that taxi drivers' right arms are browner than their left.
That said, much of Sunday at the Skin Launderette will be familiar to readers of contemporary verse. Poems utilising clichés, rifling the contents of a handbag, describing a concert of experimental music or examining the items in a charity shop recall work by Paul Muldoon, Maura Dooley, Christopher Reid and Charles Boyle; and the determined energy of the writing, its frequent use of the imperative, has about it something of Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.
Simmonds incorporates life's bits and bobs into her poetry: changing mats, Yellow Pages, a jumbo marker. But what raises her book above the average — it has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection — is a desire to bring the spiritual into the quotidian. Christ (renamed Dave) strolls down the King's Road in low-slung jeans and angels make several appearances. This casts some shadows into the writing. Simmonds might, in future, venture further into the darkness.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Blink-182 split: Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful' say Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus
Emma Watson to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Sam Smith is now paying Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne royalties for 'Stay With Me'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'