Andrew Wilson: TEXT MESSAGES
mac, Birmingham (Poetry Bites): 11 March 2004
Review: Rod Dungate
An unexpected surprise
I heard about Andrew Wilson’s Text Message poems before I went to hear him read: I’m an inveterate Today listener. When I went to hear him I expected, I suppose, some witty, short (certainly short), language twisting little poems. What I got was something quite different.
Wilson has a charming, self-effacing manner. With his easy going style and chat (‘I worked for four years in a call centre, you’d think I wouldn’t want anything else to do with phones!’) he gently took us through a set of poems; they’re short all right, sometimes funny, sometimes intensely personal. But each of them focuses for a tiny moment on an instant in his history and passes on to us a feeling, an emotion that we easily share with him. Each leaves in its wake a tail of thought, a kind of poem-comet. These are brilliant, zen-like poems.
Here’s a beauty for a taster . . . (Peacocks) ‘On the scrap of wasteland/ opposite the platform./ One flaps down from a shed roof,/ tail swishing like a cloak./ The sunset,/ as though we were in Persia.’ We share with him the pain of his father’s suffering (Death By Hiccups) ‘Loud as an animal’s bark, / jerking his thin body . . . ‘ He shares with us his trip to the Ukraine with his best mate (Alphabet): ‘Everyone -/ old women, / gangsters dressed worse than us – / notices . . .’
Curiosity factor, yes, but lovely little gems too.
Text Messages, published by Smith/Doorstep books, Huddersfield, UK