What makes Harry Giles’s first pamphlet of poetry stand out is its concentration and humour. There are not many words wasted here and if this tautness gives the work a bit of a Spartan feel, the wit restores it to warmth.
Giles seems to veer between an intellectual, formal severity and a desire to celebrate, a naughtiness that charms.
and most delightfully of all
I enjoyed Giles’s pamphlet, even if some of the work feels a bit as if he’s lashed himself to the mast of anarchism
The full review’s here. I’m so used to the immediate feedback of performance, where you just know if you’ve done well or not, that waiting for critical commentary on the book has been nerve-wracking. And now I know that at least one person just got it, and was also interested enough to find their own interpretation. This is hugely relieving and satisfying. I’d love to hear what you really made of the book, too. Review copies available on request; just let me know where you’d be reviewing it for.
And the very same week, the indomitable Sally Evans has a review of the first Stewed Rhubarb pamphlets on the Poetry Scotland blog. She’s got lovely things to say about each of the books, but also really gets what we’ve been trying to do as performance-focussed poets moving into pamphlet publishing:
Hurray for Stewed Rhubarb. It is what the Edinburgh poetry scene has been needing. Far more natural for such ebullient writers to publish these fresh and unstuffy books in a world increasingly peopled with poets, than to wait humbly for an old-fashioned establishment to come along, publish them, fund them and praise them, yes and edit, shape and sanitise them. They have twigged they could wait forever, and they have got on with it. This is the sort of breakthrough poetry needs.
There’s something else about these publications. This is not just a group of performance poets who have managed to publish pamhphlets rather well. If you look at them carefully, you will see a new fashion of poetry coming out of them, a city-based fashion, open about relationships and difficulties, humorous, sardonic and straightforward. Unimpressed with the past, the establishment and the universities, it is almost a movement, a movement which is new but has an affinity with the American beats.
Thanks, Sally! As ever, a brilliant advocate for everything that’s new in Scottish poetry.