Warning: Contains Severe Self-Promotion!!!
Now available from SKYSILL PRESS:
Alan Baker, Variations on Painting a Room: Poems 2000-2010
Variations on Painting a Room brings together ten years of small press publications by Alan Baker, together with two uncollected sequences, "The Book of Random Access" and "Everyday Songs".
It's available on Amazon, but it would help the publisher if you bought it direct from them: Skysill Press
Elizabeth Bishop wrote "The three qualities I admire in the poetry I like best are: Accuracy, Spontaneity, Mystery". These are the qualities I find in Alan Baker's poems. The precise particulars that create a very real, clear and believable writing, a willingness to take risks, and an awareness that what matters is not to be found in the obvious but in the half glimpsed, half said, half understood. Equally admirable are the ambitions for what writing can possibly do. Right from the first prose poem in "Not Bondi Beach" to the long poem "A Lull" in that same book, "The Cardiac Diaries" in his "Hotel February" collection, and on to the larger sequences such as "The Book of Random Access", Baker spreads out an awareness of the working moving world, and its politics, around him, around all of us.
Baker represents an alternative ("other") British poetry tradition, and poetics, that, often quietly, in the so-called margins of a mainstream, continues to do excellent work. His work ...turns the British lyric subtly, and offers new angles on how a line may be shaped, or allowed to spin off in another direction.
Rupert Loydell: (on "The Book of Random Access")
'[It] is the recording of people's memories.' I don't think so. 'It's only a piece of make believe': the narrator says so, later on. And yet, and yet ... Of course these fantastic texts are made up, are just randomly accessed words assembled on the page, each section under a black and white hexagram. But they are subtle, delicate (but tough) evocations of the confused lives we live, seemingly confessional outpourings, full of surprising and alarming images and insights. These texts work by luring the reader in, by being so transparent that we believe them. The details and declamations entwine themselves into sense, the everyday phrases bump and jostle themselves into a momentary order that offers teaching and insight. There is no ego here, no polemic or rant, just an intersection and gathering of lived moments, each under the spotlight for a brief moment of time. 'Let's sit down at the table together and talk softly into the night'. Okay, let's. Perhaps you will read to me, grant me random access to your world.