NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
CHRISTOPHER BROOKE: AND THE CONCEPT OF ZERO
Cinnamon Press
Ty Meiron
Glan yr Afon
Tanygrisiau
Blaenau Ffestiniog
Gwynedd
LL41 3SU
UK
ISBN 978 1 905614 05 9
7.99

email Cinnamon Press
visit the website of Cinnamon Press

www
NHI review home page
FAQ page
Notes for Publishers

book reviews
anthologies
magazines
other media

Web design by Gerald England
This page last updated: 10th December 2007.
CHRISTOPHER BROOKE: AND THE CONCEPT OF ZERO

Cinnamon have an exciting series of Welsh-connected poets bagged, though rarely aiming at Welsh heritage, Celtic roots &c., reflecting a trend to ignore historical assets. Casual observers must perceive the whole Arts scene to be losing out not only on these subjects but also in providing a major national audience with sufficient understanding to applaud or support items, even given a time gap. If Turner is now appreciated, will the Turner prize decisions reach mass adulation in future time?

Likewise, Brooke's work (maybe more organised, compared to that of the late Frank O'Hara in the States) spells divorce from the needs of a mass audience at this moment, dwelling not on dream-pleasant heritage or guide-book politics but often on the less bright side of reality in Cardiff his birthplace, where he holds many influential posts. He has been widely read and published and the accumulation of fans points to mayhem in postmodern poetics. The genius of technique is there within this first collection now thrust more steadily before public gaze than via performance work to enthusiastic audiences.

It is a free country within which to express 'reality' ungoverned by any political rules, but five-sense reality has been scientifically questioned. This poet takes it down all the way in an ironic pessimism lit by humour but sometimes the Cinnamon motto 'the spice of life' appears a minor misnomer, even though (rephrasing the comments of Peter Finch, a great initiator and outlet for Welsh poetry via the defunct SECOND AEON) he is enthralling, entertaining and produces poetry of velocity.

However,If poetry does not fit the needs and understanding of the multitude, the fans may gild but the masses will smear. But I carp, there is enough in this collection to quiver the drawers of the average reader, as from GRASS, GRASS, CANVAS AND GRASS:

	in the region of 4am i awake to the 10month old
	announcing it is cold, hungry and still teething 
	it is called Myriad, or Filigree or Seabreeze
	(some such nonsense) and, with a surreal logic,
	the mother whisper-sings Blowin'In The Wind,
	followed by a quarter-of-an-hour's worth
	of meditative Oms, to calm it down.
or from THE CIRCUS IS HIRING:
	the park opposite comes alive around 9pm with
	teenagers too young to get into clubs, but somehow
	old enough to acquire litres of White Lightning 
	they gather and fuck up against the railings and on
	wooden animals on industrial springs, they start
	waste bin fires, generally make themselves known
	to those checking at the curtain's edge.
There is much to admire in the more coherent printed lines of Brooke.

reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.