NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
PETER MORTIMER: THE EXPANDED UTTER NONSENSE
Iron Press 5 Marden Terrace
Cullercoats
North Shields
Tyne & Wear
NE30 4PD
UK
ISBN 0 906228 83 2
5.95

PETER MORTIMER: I MARRIED THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH
Five Leaves Publications
PO Box 8786
Nottingham
NG1 9AW
UK
ISBN 0 907123 93 7
6.99

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PETER MORTIMER: THE EXPANDED UTTER NONSENSE

Peter Mortimer is the author of several stage plays, children's fiction and documentaries, apart from this expanded 8th edition of UTTER NONSENSE. In addition to these achievements, Mr. Mortimer has also the rare distinction of winning a prize when a student at Seely Infant School, Nottingham, for blowing out candles.

The Newcastle Evening Chronicle describes UTTER NONSENSE as funnier than Wordsworth, a claim difficult to dispute and some of it really is quite funny, but one has to be a fan of Edward Lear to appreciate it. Typical of the contents is PEAS ON TOAST in which the poet reflects on the many strange sights encountered on his travels:

	many wondrous things I've seen
	inland and at the coast
	but I've yet to see one person
	eating peas on toast.
Other poems similarly reveal something of Mr. Mortimer's singular powers of perception, for example this verse from BUM:
	Sweaty wrestlers, scribbling clerks
	Jailbirds with tattooed tum
	Pale communists, girls rarely kissed
	Each one has got a bum.
There is also the sobering tale of NIGEL NEWLYWED and GLADYS THE TADPOLE. The latter was published in a previous edition and tells the story of Gladys, who, fed up with pond life:
	..... she took to the roads,
	away from the lands of the green croaking toads.
	She travelled afar, and wore a big floppy hat;
	green braces and socks, striped shoes and cravatte.
OH DEAR tells the zany tale of when the sea was moved inland by Government decree and then we have the 7 page epic of SID SQUIDGE, the eight year old son of Mr and Mrs Squidge. Mrs. Squidge gives birth to a baby dinosaur and her new baby grows and grows and soon develops a taste for a diet of military hardware, including tanks, planes, missiles, aircraft carriers and even whole armies, until none are left in the world. Baby dinosaur then finally settles down in Wonkywindy Park, content with a diet of car bumpers, cookers, bed frames, cycles and bath taps:
	Became a main attraction, early morning, until dark.
	Millions came to see it, on a package holiday
	from the lands where all the weapons had simply gone away.
	And Sid rode Dino daily, and cuddled his huge friend
	soared around the planet, on journeys without end.
	Saw mountains, lakes and and forests, but the greatest of all marvels
	was the sight of mighty generals
	on their knees and playing marbles.
UTTER NONSENSE, as the title suggests, is not to everyone's taste and if you are a serious type, who likes poetry to be real and earnest, don't buy it!

reviewer: Ron Woollard.
PETER MORTIMER: I MARRIED THE ANGEL OF THE NORTH

Lists and humour dominate, eg ADVICE TO A WRITER which opens

	Read everything you can.
	Remember it all
	Forget it all
	Avoid philosophers, politicians
	and professors of English literature
	Prepare for poverty...
and ends
	...Write more. Then write less
	Avoid all literary theory
	Dance and sing every day. Alone if necessary
	Let one half of you be calm
	Let the other half be restless
	Feel naked without a notebook
	Spend an inordinate amount of time
	Observing a slug or some such
	See what no-one else has seen.
	Even in a rusty nail, or a damp cloth.
and will probably be much quoted. MARRIAGE (complete poem):
	She asks him:
	what's that troubled look? 
	Nothing.
 
	And what's that beating
	softly in your chest?
	Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
is the sort of poem that would go down well live, especially in a venue with an audience that appreciates the immediacy of a punchline. Indeed there's a poem here, THE DOCTOR ASKES DIFFERENT PEOPLE TO SAY "AAAH!", that encourages audience participation. Sadly this leaves the more serious work struggling for space and attention, eg SNOW which ends
	When snow first falls
	open your palm, allow
	one silent flake to fall
	watch how simply it dies
	how it turns to an unwept tear
	in your unclenched fist.
and which would have benefited from being in a different collection. Peter Mortimer is certainly prolific, certainly having fun, but I MARRIED AN ANGEL OF THE NORTH didn't feel like a unified collection.

reviewer: Emma Lee.