Tuesday, April 29, 2014

book review: andy humphrey's a long way to fall

Andy Humphrey's first collection, 'A Long Way To Fall' was published by Lapwing Press,  in 2012.  Andy runs the monthly poetry event 'Speaker's Corner' in York, and he understands the value of an arresting start to a poem:

'They snatched me out of swirling sea'

(The Mariner's Return)

'It's the sugar I can't stand'


This 60-page collection is a good example of the importance of editing, redrafting, and not rushing into publication. Every poem has earned its place, and it feels like a collection that draws together different themes. Many poems are narrative poems, written in the first person, and a strong mythical thread, that encompasses past and present, runs throughout the collection:

'He didn't get as far as Valinor.
Instead, he put ashore at Birkenhead,
and discovered rock and roll.'

(I Know Where Gandalf Lives Now)

There are also poems that describe, with great imaginative precision, personal experiences involving love, travel, and loss:

'I tell you about the tea shop
with the higgledy-piggledy floor
where the waitress mixed up the Lapsang Souchong
and I sketched the flowery lady in the hat.'

(Bringing Back Poems)

I hope we won't have to wait for too long for Andy's second collection.

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