PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This review is taken from PN Review 199, Volume 37 Number 5, May - June 2011.

QU'EST CE QU'IL DIT? JEREMY OVER, Deceiving Wild Creatures Carcanet) £9.95
MATTHEW WELTON, We needed coffee but...(Carcanet) £9.95

In Opus Posthumus, Wallace Stevens remarks that 'reality is a cliché from which we escape by metaphor'. Jeremy Over and Matthew Welton reconstitute Stevens's gnomic statement; metaphor, with its suggestion of an alternative sphere of understanding from the habitual, is not quite what they appear to think will renovate the real. Rather, their poetry - so far as one can speak of them together - stands within what they take to be the real, often seeing poetry itself, and poetic tradition, as the cliché. This entails an adaptation of a 'postmodern' emphasis on the arbitrariness of language as a paradigm for the randomness of ... well, everything. And, as both of these decidedly 'un-mainstream' poets are both no doubt aware, 'poetry' is a cliché from which the poet escapes at his or her own risk; both books take risks, sometimes daredevil, with a mainstream audience's notion of 'poetry'. Over is often playfully iconoclastic; Welton is often confrontational, like an Oulipo surrealist.

Jeremy Over's poem 'Whip Tim Kelly' won the first prize in the BBC's Wildlife Poetry Competition of 2002; included in Deceiving Wild Creatures, his second collection, it opens thus:

Bipple-be-witsy-diddle
One, two, three, four, six,
Qu'est ce qu'il dit?
Ra-vi-ol-i
Qu'est ce qu'il dit?
Po-ta-to chip

Over's is often an ostentatiously riotous poetry, whose effect is not one of linguistic density but is rather, for want of a better word, cognitive. Which is to say, ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image