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How We Met,

Ian Gregson

How We Met, Ian Gregson
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BOOKSELLER INFORMATION


Publication Date: 15-Dec-08 | ISBN: 9781844714803 | Trim Size: 216 x 140 mm | Extent: 96pp | Format: Hardback

UK & International Distribution: Macmillan Distribution | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop

 

SYNOPSIS


Synopsis

POETRY BANK CHOICE. The title sequence of How We Met is based on the Sunday newspaper column in which famous people describe their initial meeting and their subsequent relationship. It invents five pairs of celebrities who are interviewed in this way and whose stories then interpenetrate, and eventually draw in even the interviewer herself. By comparing their accounts, it hints at the intermingling of love and power, of sexual obsession and the drives to both submission and dominance.

Half the book comprises the long sequence ‘The William Ewart Gladstone Comic Strip’ which is spoken by a veteran cartoonist who has been commissioned to draw a series of cartoons dealing with Victorian history, and focused upon Gladstone. These poems meditate upon cartoons as an art form, explore the cartoonist’s character and view of the world, and use caricature as a metaphor for expressing the distortions of memory and history, drawing upon its distinctive armoury of imagery, including its references to animals and machines, and its unusual combination of humour with uncomfortable responses such as anger, fear and contempt. It shows the impact on Victorian society, and therefore of those after it, including our own, of the British empire, industrialisation and urbanisation, and the changed sense of self that results from Victorian science, especially Darwinism.

The two sequences, and the shorter, free-standing poems at the start of the book, use a wide range of forms, including free verse, syllabics, and metrical and rhyming forms such as the ballad and the sonnet.

The book dwells upon the testing of the boundaries of the self which result, in particular, from the rise to prominence of the technological media, and, in this respect, compares and contrasts the present and the past.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


SIDEWAYS AT THE WAR; It could be love; Sideways at the War; The Scaremonger; Postmodernism, Or,; Grey Areas; Folie a Deux; Squawks and Speech; Fallen Women #1-7; A Paper Bag; Misconceiving; Surface Impressions; The Brownie Dress; Crab Lane From the New Flats; HOW WE MET; THE WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE COMIC STRIP; Part One: The Medium; i) Attempting a Likeness; ii) Finding Likeness in Unlikeness; iii) Exploding likeness through rebellion; The Medium: Comic Strip; The Medium: Searching for Shape; Part Two: The Strips; The Elastic Band; Young Dog, Young Cat; A Beast Fable; An Enchanted, Perverted, Topsy-Turvy World; Brother and Sister; Re-Animator; Rescue Work; An Unlikeness; An Ill Wind; Dr. Morph and Mr. Darwin; Dr. Morph and Mr. Gladstone; Traffic Island; Mid-Century Calm; Napoleon's Double; I Don't Think; Victoria Grieving for Albert; Dummies; The Boy Who Turned Into a Puppet; The Two Heads of Carlyle; Making Myself Scarce; An Irish Joke; Turkey, Plum Pudding; The Dark; The Assumption; Hatred of Gladstone; A Secret Cyborg; Gladstone Speaks from the Afterlife

PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK


“Acute and assured, Gregson more than fulfils the promise of his impressive first collection as he leads us into his ‘glinting labyrinth’ of startling narratives, always told in carefully-crafted language. He keeps the reader on their toes with unpredictable turns of phrase and his energetic pace. A book to savour. ” —Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch

 

“Gregson is as postmodern as it gets. Like Zen his work finds the future by coming back at it through the intricate formality of the past. How We Met is three books in one. Sideways At The War, flashing and smoking, glimpsed from the corner of an eye looking elsewhere. The relationship war. The being alive war. Then the centrality of How We Met. Fake persona, other faces, other lives. And finally the mind-stoppingly titled William Ewart Gladstone Comic Strip where England's history nudges poetic geography. Master of form and range, approachable, readable, enjoyable, Ian Gregson is one of those poets whose work you carry with you. Delve and be lifted, read and be transformed.” —Peter Finch

 

“Gregson’s impressive range of talents is fully on display in this new collection. A sure-handed way with complex narratives and conceits is well deployed in all three sections of the book: Sideways at the War, with its chilly high-rise plate-glass vistas of contemporary Britain; the twitchy bitchy personal relationships in How we Met; and, to my mind most enjoyable of all, The William Ewart Gladstone Comic Strip, in which a history-can-be-fun commission concentrates a cartoonist’s mind most wonderfully. If you’re reading this and wondering whether to buy, have a look at ‘Squawks and Speech’, ‘The Elastic Band’ and ‘An Irish Joke’ – and then get your money out.” —

 

“Gregson’s work is characterised by a belief that poetry should include and incorporate modern experience and not simply cordon off a special lyric arena where the world stops and ‘poetry’ begins. But he is also committed to a poetry that communicates, and whose relationship with popular culture is neither self-conscious nor arm’s-length. These poems may be playful or they may be serious, but they are always formally inventive, resourceful, various in their voices and wide-ranging in their concerns.” —Patrick McGuinness

 

“Gregson’s impressive range of talents is fully on display in this new collection. A sure-handed way with complex narratives and conceits is well deployed in all three sections of the book: Sideways at the War, with its chilly high-rise plate-glass vistas of contemporary Britain; the twitchy bitchy personal relationships in How we Met; and, to my mind most enjoyable of all, The William Ewart Gladstone Comic Strip, in which a history-can-be-fun commission concentrates a cartoonist’s mind most wonderfully. If you’re reading this and wondering whether to buy, have a look at ‘Squawks and Speech’, ‘The Elastic Band’ and ‘An Irish Joke’ – and then get your money out.” —Peter Didsbury

 

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE


Ian GregsonIan Gregson’s latest book of poems is How We Met (Salt, 2008). Call Centre Love Song, a selection of his poems, was shortlisted for the prestigious Forward Prize. He has published poems and reviews in the London Review of Books, the TLS and Poetry Review, amongst others. His critical books are Contemporary Poetry and Postmodernism, The Male Image: Representations of Masculinity iin Postwar Poetry (both published by Macmillan), Postmodern Literature, Hodder Arnold, 2004) and The New Poetry In Wales (University of Wales Press, 2007). Since 1977 he has taught in the English department at the university in Bangor and is now a Professor there.


 
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Call Centre Love Song, Ian Gregson

Call Centre Love Song,

Ian Gregson

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In his long-awaited first collection, Ian Gregson probes life as we know it, faulty, finicky, sensual and at times beautifully redemptive. Packed with wit and wisdom, Gregson’s poetry has long been admired as it spanned the pages of many major journals; here, at last, he delivers the goods in a superb and impressive debut.
Simon Armitage, Ian Gregson

Simon Armitage,

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Simon Armitage is one of the most compelling figures in contemporary literature, most conspicuously because of his charismatic style, but also because he has brought into poetry an irreverent, streetwise gusto and a kind of knowledge that often seems to come from outside poetry altogether. This book nonetheless shows that he is a considerable intellectual whose key concerns include space and place, and gender.
 
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