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This review is taken from PN Review 253, Volume 46 Number 5, May - June 2020.

Cover of Road Trip
Joe Carrick-VartyThe Art of Losing
Marvin Thompson, Road Trip (Peepal Tree) £9.99
‘A question is an utterance which typically functions as a request for information, which is expected to be provided in the form of an answer’ – Wikipedia. I’ve been thinking a lot about questions lately. In poetry and in real-life. This era of smart phones, mass media, instant information could spell, in more ways than one, the end of the question, or at least, the end of that novel sense of not knowing. ‘What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?’ ‘What’s the weather going to be like in Athens tomorrow?’ ‘What chance is there, exact to a percentile, of rain in Athens tomorrow?’ These are all questions I could ask my phone right now. All questions I could, within a second (Wi-Fi permitting), get an answer to.

I have to say Marvin Thompson’s Road Trip is a life-affirming lesson in lostness, in being lost, in losing people, hope, one’s sense of self, one’s sense of belonging to a world where ‘a taxi driver / on a Kingston / roadside / branded me, / my parents, / my brothers / English. / Not Jamaican.’ A world where ‘150,000 larches / have been / felled.’ A world where ‘starlings / rise and rise / into the dusk’s reds’. Because it’s the poet’s ear for wonder that makes this book so special – the urge to search, to find, to question.

‘A question is an utterance which typically functions as a request for information, which is expected to be provided in the form of an answer’. Let’s break that down – ‘expected to be provided in the form of an answer’. So, ...


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