Back of Beyond, Geoff Hattersley
[£8.95, Smith/Doorstop]

Don't ask me why, but there's a new
Geoff Hattersley book of poems out.

You think someone's gone to the back
of beyond then they surprise you,
right in your face, with some tales to tell.
Trouble is these stories are small-minded,

details from somebody else's life. I don't
want to read them or know about it Š

my own life is often just as dull.
This kind of writing is why poetry

is ignored by readers who prefer
books that might keep them awake.

Even my students agree. 'Nothing happens',
they sum it up. 'I read it and think

"So what?" Then put it down.' Me too,
I want to like it, but can't. The most

it does is amuse me in the bath,
odd lines sometimes make me smirk.

Think of a story, a punchline. Write
it down, break the sentences up.

You can make a kind of poem,
broken lines running down the

page. Like this. No, really,
it's as bad as that. Believe me,

I was completely unprepared for

the linguistic poverty of this book.

        © Rupert M Loydell 2006