Saturday, November 26, 2011


an anthology edited by Rupert Loydell, pub. The Knives Forks and Spoons Press. ISBN: 978-1-97812-50-7. £9

On the back cover of this book, the editor, Rupert Loydell, explains the title:

"The poetry I want at the moment is smartarse: a whirlwind mix of comedy, fiction, collage, free association, confession, bravado, parataxis and storytelling. It uses or may use experimental or linguistically innovative techniques, be rooted in modernism or postmodernism, but maybe not so that you as a reader would notice."

In his introduction, Nicholas Rombes, expert on punk and professor of poetry at the University of Detroit Mercy, says: "Rupert Loydell ran the term by me in 2010, and without even having to think about it, I knew what it meant." Rombes cites the influence of the internet on young USA writers, which, he claims, has resulted in a "renewed attention to the vernacular", which, Rombes continues, involves attention to "the way people talk - their voices and language, and the rhythm and texture of their words, mediated through all manner of digital technologies".

Loydell has assembled fifteen writers who, as he sees it, embody the principles above. Whether they do or not, as a mirror of Loydell's current taste, this is certainly a lively mix, and the poets as a whole, are not lacking in "attitude" or irony. No-one here takes themselves too seriously. I liked this anthology. Loydell’s candid admission that the book is filled with poetry that he just happens to like is refreshing.

To read the rest of the review,click HERE.


richard lopez said...

excellent review, alan. i think loydell is right with the claim that because of the internet and digital technologies there is a kind of trans-national vernacular being practiced today, at least among the english languages. i am familiar with several the poets you name in your review and i discovered them thru the internet. i'd be curious to see a future anthology of poet-bloggers where the contributions were published originally on their authors' own blogs.

Alan Baker said...

Hi Richard, that's a great suggestion. I agree with Loydell too - the internet allows people on different continents to chat on a daily basis - a completely new phenomenon - and that's boudn to change the language. I think writing specifically for online publication also affects language use.