As a student, I have been to a poetry day where Simon Armitage himself came to discuss his poetry with us. The most fascinating thing that he revealed to us about this book, was the idea behind the title - as a young person himself, he would often play a party game with him friends to meet new people which consisted of striking a match and holding it until it burnt to your fingers. In this time, the person holding the match would have to tell their life story in the seconds it took the flame to reach their hand, until they had to blow it out. This also explains the asterisk marking the start of his poems - it is meant to represent the newly struck flame. This book is genius, so well thought out unlike many of today's contemporary poets' books, I would heavily recommend it.
I think this is one of the best poetry collections of the last 30 yrs.
The opening salvo of 'My party piece' is a spine-chiller and through to the last piece in that section describing a burnt-out Armitage in self-destruct mode sitting in his car- this is a modern classic which taps the Zeitgeist in a way only he can.
And I have to agree with the other reviewer about To a lost lover - your toes curl at the combination of intimacy, sensitivity and agonising regret.
Someone once said that 'poetry is the new rock n'roll' - if Elvis were alive today he would be writing poetry like this...
'To his lost Lover' brought myself and my lover together. I have never been more inspired, made jelly-legged and envious of a poet. These poems seem straight forward but they are subtly layered, like slate which whilst seeming thin is actually made up of a myriad carefully arranged skins. Brilliant!
at last a contemporary poet who has managed to combine a unique voice with such outdated notions as craft and technique. perhaps he can lead us out of the waste land poetry has become mired as it is with all those recent meaningless... poets.