Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gillian Prew's moving on the madness (Book Review) by David McLean

Gillian Prew's moving on the madness
Reviewed by David McLean

This is the first book by Gillian Prew, and those who know her work know that this Scottish poet must be easily the best poet currently active in the UK, certainly the best female poet. She has chosen to self-publish her books since she herself can produce them as well as the companies currently available to publish poets who have not yet established household names, and this book proves her point.

"I am flogging fluorescent pens on
to poets
with a sphincter-eye-view of the world
it’s so dark
up their own ass
they can’t see what they’re writing"

as she puts it. This book is unlike her current production in that it is rawer, still articulate and theoretically sophisticated, but full of allusions to stiff cocks and vast cunts -

"I dance like a widow drunk
on the spunk of her dead husband. I fuck the hoover and get off
on top of the spin cycle...."

It drives home its point with power and impressive skill, angry pyrotechnics like


it’s a fuckedup factory
and the bosses are on holiday

it’s every man, woman, poet, painter, writer, musician,
for themselves"

Obviously the book progresses and the conclusion brings back a more familiar Prew. But her point here is that nowadays we need the writer to

"Give me

sexy, shattering, desperate,
blind, bloody, raw,
soothing, tender, joyous, mad,
sad, yearning, violent,
breathtaking, heartbreaking,
exquisitely painful,
painfully exquisite,


but fuck love

And at the end, after the orgasmic write, melancholia reigns again

"this is me this
gnawing sorrow
hunched under hair
loosely bound in skin
splitting from the moans
of sighing bones osteoporosing
faintly but with dignity"

Buy this 74 page book on paper after downloading it - it's amazingly well done and shows another side of the UK's uncrowned queen of words.

Buy the book at:

Author bio:

David McLean is Welsh but has lived in Sweden since 1987. He lives there on an island in a large lake called Mälaren, very near to Stockholm, with cats, kittens, and a couple of dogs. Up to date details of many zine publications and several available books and chapbooks, including three print full lengths, a few print chapbooks, and a free electronic chapbook, are at his blog at Mourning Abortion. The latest full length laughing at funerals is available via Small Press Distribution: SPD.

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