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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
Great British Bake Off 2014: Diana Beard quits after falling ill
Great British Bake Off 2014: Ofcom receives 13 complaints about Baked Alaska episode
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >