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'We needed coffee but...'

Matthew Welton

Matthew Welton, '<i>We needed coffee but. . .</i>'
RRP: GBP 9.95
Available
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 847775 66 5
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2012
96 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • 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.'
    Guardian


    '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
    Contents

    1    Virtual airport   
    2    Four-letter words  
    3    Poems retrieved   
          Home economics   
          Got loose and let some   
          Clued in   
          Paul Simon variations   
          If I had a yammer   
          Woven poems   
          Poppy   
          I must say that at first it was difficult work   
          Measure    
    4    South Korea and Japan 2002   
    5    Six poems by themselves   
    6    Dr Suss   

    Acknowledgements   
    Note: ‘I must say that at first it was difficult work’   





    Matthew Welton's poems take a playful approach to language and often blur the boundaries between poetry and other forms, such as fiction, music and visual art. His three previous Carcanet books are: The Book of Matthew (2003), We needed coffee but we'd got ourselves convinced that the later we left it ... read more
    '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
    '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 '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.'

    The Poetry Review

    '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

    'Welton's tuning-fork sentences make small things sing with precise beauty'
    Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times
    '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
    '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
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