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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars but is it poetry
Being sent this by the Poetry Society, I had at first thought there was a mistake. This was not poetry but it was a delightful book full of poignant and beautiful words. Wonderfully written, each short piece is a gem but somehow I still felt cheated - where was the poetry?
The vignette of two people sharing the same room which had been divided by a net curtain strung...
Published on 26 May 2010 by S. Seel

versus
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seeing double...
'Seeing Stars' marks something of a departure from Armitage's other poetry, in fact, from poetry itself, as the vast majority of the pieces here are flash fiction stories.

They are entertainingly bizarre and full of pop culture, sport and political figures - characters called James Cameron, an artist called Damien, Manic Street Preachers, Ricky Wilson, Richard...
Published on 14 May 2010 by the examiner


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars but is it poetry, 26 May 2010
By 
S. Seel "shirleyanne book addict" (norwich, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
Being sent this by the Poetry Society, I had at first thought there was a mistake. This was not poetry but it was a delightful book full of poignant and beautiful words. Wonderfully written, each short piece is a gem but somehow I still felt cheated - where was the poetry?
The vignette of two people sharing the same room which had been divided by a net curtain strung across the middle which was gradually eaten by moths and yet still they stayed in their own halves filled me with a deep sorrow. Each short piece is so descriptive and worthy of another read at a later date.
The book reminds me of life - full of different events joined together but still not of one piece.
Dont worry whether its poetry or not - just enjoy it.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, shiny gemulets of prose., 11 May 2010
By 
R. J. Shillito (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
Oh I wish I was a writer ! (but I int). If I were a writer tho', I'd be jealous to death of this little book. I'd probably give up writing I'd be that peeved.
Seeing Stars is a collection of 39 delightful, round, shiny, perfectly formed "gemulets" of prose. It's an album full of hit singles like we used to get, back in the old days.
The concept is pure genius : Tiny, nonsensical tales involving the warmest of characters, filled to the brim with beautiful language we use every day but rarely see written down.
You may have to stop half way thro', do something solemn for a bit just to give the smiling muscles a rest.
When you get to the end (it is only 74 pages) you just flick back to the start and read it all over again.
Thanks Simon, it's a beautiful thing.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seeing double..., 14 May 2010
This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
'Seeing Stars' marks something of a departure from Armitage's other poetry, in fact, from poetry itself, as the vast majority of the pieces here are flash fiction stories.

They are entertainingly bizarre and full of pop culture, sport and political figures - characters called James Cameron, an artist called Damien, Manic Street Preachers, Ricky Wilson, Richard Dawkins and his friend Terry (one for the literary brigade there), lots of famous Dennis's, and a poet called Simon Armitage all feature. Many of the pieces have darker socio-political undertones, which has always been a feature of SA's poetry.

The problem is that it all gets a bit repetitive. One of poetry's great strengths is its variety: that it can thunder along in rhymed couplets, then float about in free verse, be intensely claustrophobic in a haiku and so on, all within one collection. If he's making a point by flattening out poetry into prose, it comes at the expense of reading enjoyment. It's like buying a box of Quality Street only to find it full of the green triangles - nice enough, but not really what you want.

And for someone so heavily immersed in pop culture ('Travelling Songs' aside) it's always surprised me that he doesn't have more 'hit single' poems and employ greater use of form and metre; Don Paterson and others have proved this is still possible to do successfully in this form-phobic day and age.

Read SA's friend and fellow poet Glyn Maxwell's 'Hide Now' if you're after more in the way of poetic invention and versatility.

I look forward to Armitage's next novel - maybe there will be some poems in it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Resuscitating the Prose Poem, 2 Jun 2011
This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
Whether you believe the prose poem is dead, should be dead, or is in fact alive and well, this offering from Armitage comes across as being little more than on life support.

For the writer capable of chronicling the ebb and flow of social and cultural vagaries in "All Points North", isolating those moment of tragic-comedy that crystalize the truth in so much of his poetry, or bringing such incredible music and cadence to his translation of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", there are far too few moments of insight into the human condition or the language used to describe it.

Armitage's quirky sense of humour is still present and occasionally shines through to buoy a piece, but it is a long slog through pedestrian lines to arrive at these moments.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it a bird? Is it a plane?, 24 Aug 2010
This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
No, dear reader, it is flash fiction. Many reviewers have been bewildered by these pieces - are they prose poems, unsuccessful poems, extended epigrams? For the most part, they are simply very short short stories; macabre or moving, delivered with Armitage's confident skill. Many achieve a surprising completeness in less than 500 words. Perhaps this is the logical next step for a writer like Armitage, an accomplished poet who is clearly drawn to narrative but knows that the modern reader won't hang around to hear Gawain and the Green Knight. It's a worthy attempt and each of these pieces is strong on its own - but a book full of them is a diet both strangely rich, and unsatisfying.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate Appropriation, 15 Nov 2010
By 
Ms. Francesca P. Creed "mchoody" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
Perhaps what is most frustrating with Armitage's most recent offering, is its blatant appropriation of the American poet James Tate's surreal narrative style. Rather than adaption however, this is poor imitation, Tate's poetry offering rich and often haunting vignettes, while Armitage being grounded in the pop cultural fails to scratch beneath the surface, unlike much of his earlier work. Armitage's engagement with language is undeniably satisfying, however if seeking British surreal narrative yet wholly unique poetry, perhaps look to Luke Kennard or Caroline Bird for superior and respectively original interpretations of the form. Otherwise this is a well executed collection, however I recommend to look to his earlier work for poems which truly hit one's core when reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read it again and again, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: Seeing Stars (Paperback)
I never tire of Simon Armitage, he is a constant warm glow and delving into this book is like being wrapped in a warm blanket and hugged by a stranger with a terrible beard who smells of warm buttered toast, unnerving but oddly comforting. It is filled with some of the saddest an sweetest poems you'll ever read, as well as those which will make you laugh out loud and then feel bad for doing so. His best work since Kid.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars light reading: too twee, 24 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Seeing Stars (Hardcover)
I don't know where I got the idea that Armitage was some ungodly hybrid of Benjamin Peret & David Shrigley, but he's more Nick Hornby does an Edward Monkton greetings card in McSweeneys for me. This is by no means "bad" work - I chuckled out loud a number of times, and that happens rarely. But it's too "sweet" for my tastes - the narrator is rarely subsumed by any passion - it's almost as if that would be deemed too "vulgar", the emotions aren't replaced by an empty or world-weary sensibility, but just remain, rather cool, kooky, quirky, shallow. It brings to mind a caricature of a "Guardian reader" making "wry" observations about "ordinary people". I also got the feeling that Armitage had been saving choice turns of phrase for the moment he was able to craft a poem in which to deliver them - to me it seemed fairly transparent. Shows promise but too twee.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Nov 2013
By 
Ms. A. Chamberlain (u.k) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seeing Stars (Paperback)
The book is great. I love this author And the stories do not disappoint as they are amusing, witty, thoughtful and easy to share with friends on a cold night
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Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage
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