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This review is taken from PN Review 202, Volume 38 Number 2, November - December 2011.

From Tabbinisi ed reiss, Your Sort (Smith/Doorstop Books) £9.95

Hakagawa, Eliot's character who was 'bowing among the Titians', seems at home in drawing-rooms, but Ed Reiss looks for a wife for him from the trawler fishing industry.


I'm looking for a mate for Hakagawa.
She'd better have a quirky sense of humour:
some go-getter from the frontier:

Kirsty McDougall, radio-operator
Kariann Kiehl, gillnetter-skipper
Ardel Krogh, patrolling the marina

Sockeye Sue Hahn, Enforcement Officer
who leaps aboard a suspect trawler
skidding down the deck on fish-slime.

...


or Joan Skogan
who monitors by-catch, offal, quotas
close to screaming high-speed filleting machines

in the guts of the factory-ship
where people are good and kind to one another.
She might be a mate for Hakagawa.

Reiss is at his best in this poem from his first full collection: wit and whimsicality are joined with fellow-feeling and a fathom-deep interest in others. Two-thirds of the poems are about other people (a relief when so many poets are unsparingly interested in themselves). Among the characters are a celebrity Zeus who's working on his issues, a tour guide to Roman mosaics (with comic English), Harold Godwinson as a schoolboy, Aunt May who had tinkers in for tea, and a woman obsessed with Norman Tebbit's fingers. Reiss has particular sympathy for disturbed outsiders; the speaker in 'Suspended' is ejected from an art gallery for kneeling down, and ...


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