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Poetic Licence
by Martin Newell

" . . . call a poet up today
Invite one to your next soiree
Secure he won't be in your loo
Syringe in arm and turning blue . . ."

Neat of rhyme, tidy of diction, precise of cadence and inventive of form, Martin Newell is a poet you can invite into your home on any occasion, secure in the knowledge that he will not baffle or patronise you. His intention seems merely to entertain. It's only when you've ushered him past the Ikea dado-rail, the Astrohome CD-holder and the Littlewoods catalogue wallpaper that you'll notice the menacing teeth, and the satirical talons that are sunk deep into your own pretensions as well.

Newell's poems are light verse at its most intelligent, smartly- crafted, pissed-off extreme. Since he began writing for The Independent, where he is now Canary Wharf's unofficial Poet Laureate, his subjects have moved from the disgustingly personal (like "I Hank Marvinned", a sordid confession of the solitary act with the tennis racket) to the disgustedly political ("The Great Beef Scare of '96") along with a hundred obsessive excursions into the more foolish rings of the rock 'n' roll circus. Whether he's being politely formal with Jarvis Cocker and Michael Jackson, slangily Essex with Karen and Darren or sleekly regretting the down-grading of Hell ("Do something wrong, it got redressed. A red-hot triton up your vest"). Newell is an original, a card and a caution. . . .

John Walsh, The Independent

1996
56 pages
135mm x 215mm
£6.95
ISBN 0 9525594 2 0

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