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'We needed coffee but...'
ISBN: 978 1 847770 02 8
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2009
216 x 135 x 10 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
We needed coffee but we'd got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we retuned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind
From its title, which runs to 101 words in full, to its wordless concrete poems; from its World Cup fixture list to its transformations of four-letter words, 'We needed coffee but...' is audacious, mischievous, even outrageous. As in his award-winning first collection The Book of Matthew, the poet attends precisely to each detail: the rhythms are musical but unexpected; the brightness control on imagery is turned up high. New in this book is the emphasis on collaboration. Some of this work began in text pieces for art exhibitions or as song-cycle lyrics. Other poems respond to the influences of Gertrude Stein, Raymond Queneau, Inger Christensen, dom silvester houedard, Yoko Ono and Gyorgy Ligeti. Matthew Welton turns rigorous control into a dancing display of wit: we become his collaborators in the shared delight that inventive poetry can contrive.
From reviews of The Book of Matthew:
'It arrives with a unique and distinct sensibility; his poems create their own evocative and elusive worlds. There is a kind of relaxed quizzical sensuality running throughout, an easy, compelling confidence.'
'I think this is the first poetry book I've recommended, but it's just stunning and deserves far wider recognition. While there's a playfulness and a lightness of touch to the writing it also left me feeling that every single word was in exactly the right place. Beautiful.'
1 Virtual airport
2 Four-letter words
3 Poems retrieved
Got loose and let some
Paul Simon variations
If I had a yammer
I must say that at first it was difficult work
4 South Korea and Japan 2002
5 Six poems by themselves
6 Dr Suss
Note: ‘I must say that at first it was difficult work’
'You're unlikely to read anything like it . . . poems are rarely so curious, precise and committed to their enquiry.'
Jack Underwood Praise for Matthew Welton 'It arrives with a unique and distinct sensibility; his poems create their own evocative and elusive worlds. There is a kind of relaxed quizzical sensuality running throughout, an easy, compelling confidence.'
The Guardian 'A poet who has consistently produced some stunningly beautiful work.'
Dave Gorman, the Observer
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