Yup, poetry …
I don’t read a lot of it, and the little I do read, I understand about thirty per cent of it.
So, I opened an early Christmas present, discarded the note that said, “Yeah, I know, poetry. Just bloody read it, will you?”
And I read it …
And thought, Ah, okay … poetry.
I think calling it a collection of poems is probably over-simplifying things a bit. Poetry and short essays then, centred around the Black-British male experience of family and justice.
The pieces are varied, connected, definitely thought-provoking and instantly relatable. The poetry struck me as pretty free form (but what do I know) with a sharp flow that doesn’t sacrifice the message for art.
Some of the pieces are uncompromising, talking about the killing of Damilola Taylor from a rather unique perspective. Others are strange, but weirdly deep. There’s one poem that, on first blush, seems to be about a coat left on the floor in an office. But as you read about the people tripping over it, walking around it, ignoring it instead of just picking it up – you realise that you’re reading about a wider social theme: the idea of walking by, not getting involved, not helping out. I liked it – even if it didn’t rhyme.
Manorism is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a long history in poetry. There is a story here, told in snapshots.
Well worth reading, even if you think you’re not a poetry fan.