Publication Date: 01-Mar-06 | ISBN: 1844712540 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 176pp | Format: Paperback
UK Distribution: | USA Distribution: | Publishing Status: Active
Simon Smith’s Mercury comprises three sections or “books” filled with his characteristic gem-like poems. As with his earlier collection Reverdy Road, Smith’s poems demonstrate tremendous wit and profundity tempered by lightness of touch. This is a wonderfully accessible collection which casts a knowing eye on Roman classics and contemporary life.
This remarkable new volume sports the brevity and cheek of Martial’s epigrams, providing the excuses and occasions – Mercury is a book of pith, turning on an urban-knowing wit, a rag-bag of flip, it embraces the complexities of ordinary language and expression. Veracity sounded through fleeting moments; these are poems that say difficult things simply.
Mercury is Simon Smith’s third full-length volume of poetry.
On Reverdy Road:
“When asked to name my favourite Salt book for 2003 my answer was Simon Smith's Reverdy Road … it was such a surprise … reading so many [images] together, they exploded into clarity …” -Tim Allen, Terrible Work
“Smith is master of the deceptively casual poem…. At its best … [his] use of the short form over so many pages achieves an effect comparable to a villanelle.” –Simon Coppock, Poetry Review
“The Jack Lemmon of English poetry.” –Geraldine Monk
VIEW EXCERPT AS PDF
Click here to view a sample (452 KB)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
?Mercury; Buzz; Lorca; Second Coat; Tint; Mending Wall; Language; Timber; Meanwhile; Radio; Orpheus; Aide-memoire; Twelfth; Rain; Cube Moves; Bet Wit; Tee Hee; Heaps; Of; Slips Light; Day One; Puts You in the Picture; Polyester Cotton Mix; Who’s Whose; Reality; Warm Rain; Over the Page; Gum Spots; Lone Star; Puzzle; Now; Air-Shaped; New Day; Just Started; Finishing Touch; Cobalt; Same Chair; Comfy; Easy Air; Noir; Cold Lake; Coat; Advantageous Thing; Smell; Baltic White; Why Do; Iced Water; Paper Clips; Direct Light; Soup; Air Thin; Blue Felt; Utopia Station; Video Black; Chinks; Flip-flop; Clearly; Fizz; On the Instant; First Aid Box; [Unfinished]; Rain; Thump; Side to Side; Cries; Agree; Image; Rain; Square One; Fib; Zap Bam Pow; Air; Dead Spot; Pale; New Management; Whichever; Finish Off; Waste Ground; In Reality; Off We Go; Soundtrack; Note; As If; Boughs; Warm; Crossings Out; Nothing But; Face in Light; Traadaa; Oh, Yes; Cloud; Slip Ons; Wow; Spring; Surrounding Areas; Thick; Solid State; Quiet Breeze; An Illustrious Record; Err Um; Choice; Melted Paper; Cow; Forward; Cold; Another Big Day; Big Day; Grey, in Theory; Old Ticket; Happy Dish; Coup; Orange; Sub Station; Echo Round; Simon; Choice; Thin Air; White; Acrobats; White; Is As; Writing; Shiny Beach; Constellation; To Moment; Cloud; Pfuff; Theseus’ Dad; Surveillance Camera; Formal Solutions; A Harsh Light; Michelle; Those Days; Silver Coins; Dear; Story So Far; The Good Bit; Realism; Made; Copy; Flit; Hum; One Remove; Made; Structureless; Film
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“Simon Smith has a fresh, compelling voice, which simultaneously draws you in and holds you at bay. This collection of poems manages to be personal and yet objective, witty and yet emotional, pared-down and epigrammatic but at the same time sharp, colloquial and strange. An impressive achievement.” —
“Simon Smith’s poetry at first seems to hurtle, pushing from high-speed line-break to line-break through love, through outraged bewilderment (hurdle and hurt), through the craftily recycled throwaways of modern phrase. As poem overlaps with poem, there’s the effect, though, of detail being traced over preceding detail, a musical refrain or a decorative pattern emerging through sequences that replay and transmute their own elements, slowing the tempo down as they create dwellings-on, lyric memory, improvising with the sonic shapes they have initiated. Mercury is Simon Smith at his best.” —
“The Jack Lemmon of English poetry.” —
“Smith is master of the deceptively casual poem.” —Poetry Review
“Simon Smith’s Mercury pushes the limits of language and line to just short of the fragmentation of words and meanings.” —PN Review 175
Simon Smith, born 1961 in Redruth, Cornwall, brought up on the borders of Hertfordshire and Essex. Educated at the University of Kent at Canterbury, he lived in Pennsylvania from 1984–1986 where he threw in an academic career for one in librarianship. He has worked at the Poetry Library in London since 1991, and became Librarian in 2003. He edited GRIllE (1991–1993) and was poetry editor of Angel Exhaust (1998–1999). He is one of the judges for the National Poetry Competition 2004 along with Elaine Feinstein, Ciaran Carson and chair Denis MacShane, the Minister for Europe.