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A Little Bit of Bread and No Cheese
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2001)
'It's good to lose something you don't really need every now and then,
an item of clothing, some hair, a tooth, a piece of one's mind. A tree
of course, knows this.
Once we left the family bible out on the lawn overnight
to soak up the late summer dew, and the next day
we kneaded the bloated black pulp and
put it in the oven to bake
And when the door opened
a cinema of black birds ....
Jeremy Over's poetry creates a world of delight and amazement; in the face of language, love and an elusive reality which seems eternally beyond the realm of rational control. His cornucopia spills out pineapples, watermelons, unstitched shoes and flocks of birds from the baked remains of the waterlogged family bible. He dares to glance down from vertiginous perspectives and the laughter his poems produce is bright and innocent. There is nothing reductive in his ironies. He draws on Neruda, Stevens, Traki and more, but readers will feel in his work the pressure of the Lorca of Poeta en Nueva York and the tonalities of Laforgue.
The poems rarely break entirely from a narrative core, yet they challenge the current orthodoxy of poetry as storytelling on every level. His is an important new voice and this is a glittering first collection.
Awards won by Jeremy Over Short-listed, 2020 The Wales Poetry Book of the Year (Fur Coats in Tahiti)
Praise for Jeremy Over It is this nothing offered that makes such a rewarding read, because it leads to destinations unknown, a restless, constantly moving walk after not knowledge, but illumination, the unexpected relationship between word and word that opens a window to the world. It is, I realise as I write, a kind of Dada Zen book; what more can I say?
'They also seem magical. Like magic words, or Latin mass: more powerful for all its uncertainty.'
Joe Darlington, Manchester Review of Books
'Joyous panoplies of alphabets warble, blossom and assemble into word songs made simultaneously stately and playful here in Fur Coats in Tahiti. Folklore and plainsong play with Stein and then Whitman comes over, inviting so many alphabetic others to join in: Wordsworth via Jandl via Atkins via Ono via You makes something entirely new! Over's marvelous word worlds mesh and refresh all our delights in loving thinking musics of sound, sense and nonce. Slip on this luxurious garment of a book where the language weather is always perfect.'
Lee Ann Brown 'In Fur Coats in Tahiti, Jeremy Over exuberantly defies expectations. These poems rollick as they explore relationships between sound and sense, interweave the surreal and the mundane, and conduct whimsical, unpredictable journeys. The work teems with intelligence and delight.'
'I am in love with the new collection by Jeremy Over, building as it does on the work of his first two books with so much style and grace. The poems are in thrall to the magic of the image, exquisite timing and exuberant ambivalence. Which latter, for me, articulates exactly why dull certainties and conciliatory platitudes tend to sail over my head. Over's is a poetry of endless curiosity and intellectual generosity, inviting us to wander and wonder with the writer. The long poems and sequences capture a quality of musical improvisation, but the attention is pulled back, again and again, by unexpected lyrical detail; as if distraction (by beauty, by stupidity, by wonder) were the only true method. And it is.'
'A restless experimenter and game-player with language'
Ian McMillan, The Reader
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