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'We needed coffee but...'
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2009)
(Pub. Jul 2009)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jul 2009)
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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.
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’
'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.'
'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 'Welton's tuning-fork sentences make small things sing with precise beauty'
Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times
'There's a melancholy undertow to his humour: taken together, these poems come to feel like glimpses into the Eleanor Rigby-ish private lives of all the lonely people, as they sit at home, playing with peanut shells, drawing on the walls, lost in tangled thoughts, doing nothing.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph 'No book this year has brought me more joy.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, Telegraph Poetry Books of the Year 2020
'A beautiful, exactly written piece of nonsense-noir'
Keith Miller, TLS Books of the Year 2020
'Through Welton's abundant assonance and alliteration, through the accents and rhythms of his syntax, sensations become linguistically tangible... Welton probes ordinary micro-phenomena to reveal the ineffable... Throughout Squid Squad, the reader is in the company of an acute observer and expert linguist turning his attention to his own use of language. Welton is without peer when it comes to putting slow motion perceptions into words'
Nasser Hussain, Times Literary Supplement
'Welton is a poet who resists the idea of a stable, complete, consumable poem, as his iterative patterns of poems (in a book that calls itself 'a novel') show - and certainly, both books are short on satisfaction, questioning in different ways what poetic satisfaction might be. The mimed actions, like unoriginal incorrect versions of ancient epigrams, seem to take us to the brink of textual meaning, again and again, and then leave us there, like cartoon coyotes, scrabbling in midair.''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.'
The Poetry Review
Dave Gorman, The Observer '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.'
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