Found these two staplebounds at Gary's joint art exhibition with Billy Childish at HQ Gallery, Lewes. Thirty three 3 line poems (A6; 36pp plus covers) has a very pale grey card cover with a photo of a path through trees. These are perfect little Polaroid snapshots, mostly clocking in at fewer than twenty syllables - encapsulations of moments (moonlight across tiles; a pig being fed apples), of vivid flashes of colour (a fox in the snow; nighttime railway lights), of the unexpected (an artist's shoes; a caged canary), of situations, sensations, emotions, in a variety of locations. I enjoy the conciseness, the concentrated quality of these laid-out-one-to-the-page pieces : sometimes a sentence is all that's necessary; a scenario's other details can be mentally filled in if the reader so desires.
The bright gold card-covered 12 Short Poems & 12 Brush Drawings (A5; 28pp plus covers) has its title and Gary's name written in black using a capital-letters stencil, charmingly clunky in this computer-technological age - the small imperfections make things all the more human. Gary's drawings are filled with creatures, a regular subject of his art : there's a bear, crows, a rabbit, a horse and a squirrel. There's a strength and rawness similar to that in Don Van Vliet's paintings, and I very much like Gary's trees with their facial features. In his written landscapes, plastic carrier bags and newspapers are blown around; blossom, startling in its beauty, clogs the gutters; bills clog a drawer; the whistling wind soundtracks the arrival of junk mail; and teenagers drinking ("monkeys at a tea party") cause obstructions.
Poetry either connects with the reader or it doesn't, and in the case of Gary's intensely personal books, I find that the words generally hit the spot for me. I'm not exactly sure where to position him in the scheme of things, or even if it's wise to make comparisons at all. I perceive links with the old-school pop poets whose work seeped into the consciousness of folk of a certain generation (that to which Gary and I belong), but there's a genuine depth and sensitivity here, a lack of superficial thrill, an absolutely-had-to-be-written-ness. Wonderful, as usual.
Bought : 24th May 2007.
Price : £2 each.
Web address : http://www.gary-goodman.co.uk.