12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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.