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The Number Poems

Matthew Welton

9781784102203
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 784102 20 3
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2016
216 x 146 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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  • Exactly what I’m saying is: the sunset comes,
    and, in it, something anaesthetic mutes my mind.
    The flock of flies doubles in size; the blackberries bloom.


    A budgie in the sludge begins a song so long
    a heap of people hear it in the year it takes
    and none of them remembers where they heard it first.


    The seriously delirious kid lets out his breath
    and stipulates the apples which he’ll polish up
    and juggle with the plums and crimson damsons at


    the middle of my mind. The light grows alluvial;
    a gust of hasty melody measures the air.
    The mind is modulation. It’s a short haul home.


    From 'Construction with Stencil'
    Matthew Welton is a poet enchanted by form and process. Many of the Number Poems abide by subtle patterns or constraints, creating symmetries in the arrangement of sentences, lines, words, or metrical feet. As with good architecture, however, Welton’s rules and methods resist exclamation; rather, they are the framework upon which are established localised ambiances, be they of warmth or dazzlement, the home or the dream. Other sequences, such as the mind-altering ‘Melodies for the meanwhile’, begin with a palette of words and images and recombine them kaleidoscopically. By adding layers of colour and sound, Welton composes a modulating sensory wave. Even in silence, we do not so much read these poems as perform them.



    Matthew Welton was born in Nottingham in 1969. He received the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for The Book of Matthew (Carcanet, 2003), which was a Guardian Book of the Year. He was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2004. Matthew collaborates regularly with the composer Larry Goves, with whom he was awarded a ... read more
    Praise for Matthew Welton 'I'm also eagerly awaiting the publication of The Book Of Matthew by Matthew Welton but I'll have to wait until September. He's a poet who has consistently (but slowly) produced some stunningly beautiful work - but this is his first complete book.'
    Dave Gorman, The Observer
    '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.'
    Dave Gorman
    '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.'
    Guardian
    '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
    'You're unlikely to read anything like it . . . poems are rarely so curious, precise and committed to their enquiry.'
    Jack Underwood
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