Faber & faber £9.99 (57pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
West End Final, By Hugo Williams
Friday 23 October 2009
That wicked trickster Hugo Williams queers his reviewer's pitch in "West End Twilight". The poem insolently mocks every cliché about his quasi-autobiographical verse and its habitual use of his matinée-idol actor father, Hugh: "as the lives of father and son/ loom clear, perception of the past is altered..." etcetera.
Unbowed, this critic shoots back that Williams's tragi-comic family romance has never sounded deeper or subtler notes than it does in this play-list of a life through 38 poems, long and short, tart and tender.
From the childhood excitement of "Peach" to the last-ditch defences of "Washing my Hands" ("the dam seems to be holding"), poems rhyme with another, chat and spar.
Long sequences shine: the slow-mo erotica of "A Pillow Book"; the bittersweet Cole Porter-esque elegies of "Poems to my Mother". In his spotlight we see all time's dust and debris, but the showman still casts a spell.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Eurovision 2015: Graham Norton returns with another cutting commentary - his best lines
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take title from Conchita Wurst
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland