Bob the Bard of 'Boro
Yoik, Bob Beagrie (80pp,£7.99, Cinnamon Press)
Yoik is an original form of music integral to the religion of Shamanism. As Bob explains in a note, 'You don't yoik about ...something...but rather you yoik something...' So not ideas about the thing but the thing itself.
Yoik is in three parts. 'The Bard', the second, is an ambitious overdraft of Thomas Gray's 18th century Pindaric ode. On the orders of Edward I, the last Welsh bard has been cornered on a crag above the Conwy river.
A Bard has the gift
For keeping the language alive
For not letting anyone forget who they were
For keeping the resistance going
(from 'Like the Last Bard')
From a Welsh grandfather Bob has inherited the Gift, a barely understood urge to perform poems.
'Like the Last Bard' recounts, through the eyes of two local lads, an incident in Middlesborough. Auld Wanley.a boozy veteran of the local sixties performance poetry scene, has climbed a high rise:
Do you think he's gonna jump?
Maybe he's gonna be up there forever.
Yeah, people'll come from all over to see him.
From Redcar, from Seaton Carew.
From America, from Peru.
Plenty of humour here but it's serious too.
Bob uses traditional rhyme and forms, Strophe, Antistrophe and Epode in 'The Bard'.
Part three: 'Suomi and other yoiking locations' includes Scotland, Iberia and the Baltic, as well as the north east.
The first part, 'Periphrastics', suggests Bob has read 'East Coker'.
Strong stuff. Also tender and intimate, see 'Upon Waking', '3 Little Piggies', and 'Home'.
These poems are a pleasure and a challenge,sadly there are about twenty proofreading errors. Work of this quality deserves better. The cover design by Mike Fortune-Wood from original art work by Robert Smith is powerful.
Bob is both cosmopolitan and a native Teesider. Stay on your tower, even if the Bard jumped!
© Geoff Sutton 2008