Thursday, 27 August 2009

Mark Goodwin: Else

Over the past year or so, I've seen Mark Goodwin read a couple of times, and he's been excellent on both occasions - entertaining, but also thought-provoking and genuinely enthralling.

I've recently finished reading his Shearsman collection, Else, and it fully lives up to expectations. He falls broadly into the non-mainstream/innovative camp, but what I enjoy about his work is that, while he attempts to stretch language into all sorts of new shapes, his concerns and ideas are always firmly grounded in the everyday, with a particular attention to ecological matters. He's a real master of the urban pastoral, too, or more precisely of documenting that fringe between the urban and the rural.

There's a real physicality to the language that it's impossible not to relish, and at times Goodwin coins evocative, spot-on word compounds that feel almost Anglo-Saxon, or like Old Norse kennings.

I will get round to writing a proper review of the book sooner or later, but for now there's one in the new issue of Tears In The Fence, which I've been enjoying. Other highlights for me so far include poems by John James and Luke Kennard.

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