It can be hard being a young poet in London sometimes. You want to get your face seen, perform, be noticed... but you don't want to become over- familiar, endlessly lapping the poetry club circuit in search of recognition. So we can forgive 29-year-old writer and singer Luke Meddings his ambivalent approach to publicity: "Everyone's talking about poetry as the new rock'n'roll but there's only one poet who can live up to the hype," declaims the blurb accompanying his first collection, Storm of Soul. On the one hand, he clearly knows he has pop pin-up potential (his face adorns the slim volume, which is published on Valentine's Day) - on the other we are told he is quite shy, ("uncomfortable in the media glare").
But media glare might just be heading his way, if Storm of Soul is anything to go by. The poems are short, taut and daringly uninhibited in their use of elliptical imagery, leaping in subject-matter from the Los Angeles riots to Curtis Mayfield, to Bosnia ("Europe's new casualty ward/ Where the anaesthetic has run out/and doctors work by camera light"), to Paris and love. The verse has also been recorded with funky/kooky embellishments (wah-wah guitar, gospel piano and cymbals), but why not go the whole hog and see the man himself, in a rare live appearance at the Mean Fiddler this week. He should go down a storm.
Storm of Soul, £4.99 (£5.99 with cassette) from The Stanza Building, PO Box 2249, London, W14 9WQ. Live: The Mean Fiddler Acoustic Room, 9pm, 17 FebReuse content