Thursday, 8 November 2012

...reading Sam Riviere

I am a very lucky lady. Two very dear friends of mine work for a large publishing house. They send us books from time to time, and consequently we get to read some amazing novels, some of which are proofs and haven't even been published yet (plus they make us look really clever stacked up on our bookshelves).
Recently my husband was going on the train to London to watch a football match. He was stuck for something to read so I leant him a copy of Sam Riviere's '81 Austerities'. His response was something along the lines of 'I don't really like poetry. Actually, I think poetry is boring'. Having said that though, my husband is an open minded fella and he did take it with him. He read about half of the 81 poems in the collection. Returning home from the match, his talk was not of 'the game' but actually of this brilliant poet he had discovered. Naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about.

"It never ceases to astonish or offend me/seeing the couples circulate the otherwise/dead town centre like leaves in a big ashtray/in a sort of drugged calm they're dreamy I guess"

So sad, so beautiful. My husband was pretty moved by that one (don't tell him I told you).
Sam Riviere's debut is a very witty and at times desperately sad, carefully observed collection of thoughts and commentary on the modern age. His poetry is very accessible and almost familiar; he uses some of the characteristics from writers such as e e cummings with the limited/complete lack of punctuation, but his style is reminiscent of a facebook status (in fact, he started writing poetry in his blog and went from there).

So, if you love poetry, get a copy of '81 Austerities', and if you think that poetry is not something for you, then think of my husband the 'poetry is rubbish' football fan and maybe give Mr Riviere a try.

Maria x                

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