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The Book of Matthew
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2003)
A Mr Macaroni stops his Ford
two streets away and lets the engine flood,
the radio just loud enough to hear,
one crate of pippin-apples, one of beer.
from 'The wonderment of fundament'
WINNER OF THE 2003 JERWOOD ALDEBURGH FIRST COLLECTION PRIZE
Matthew Welton makes tunes out of words. Using the sounds and structures of language, he finds new understandings of what poetic form can do. He refuses to be constrained by convention. The title poem borrows its structure from Roget's Thesaurus to spin thirty-nine variations on sounds, images and rhythms, creating a puzzling, dazzling kaleidoscope of effects. The Book of Matthew is playful, witty and irresistibly memorable, expanding the attentive reader's awareness of the fabric of poetry and the possibilities of language. These poems give delight by means of the shape of the lines on the page, the feel of the words on the tongue, and the subtle noises they plant in the ear.
'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 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 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.'
The Poetry Review
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.'
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