In a radical departure in style and tone, Rob A. Mackenzie’s new collection, Woof! Woof! Woof!, offers biting satire and sweeping social commentary. From the murk of political engagement in an age of offence sensibility, to the bleached-out culture of munificent late-capitalism, Mackenzie’s experimental poems take the reader on an engaging and engaged descent into the sort of purgatory we may never choose to escape from, yet his impish wit offers us all a large dose of saving grace. Sardonic, at times morally exhausted, the poems offer a clear-sighted challenge to the risk of isolationism and powerless relativism.
‘These are Rob A. Mackenzie’s best poems yet. A book of vim and prowess, full of wonderfully crisp phrasing and potent images — poems full of zingers. Fuelled by captivating allegories and mordant satire, Woof! Woof! Woof! casts the bedlam of our world with fresh wit and invention, real insight and heart.’ —Alan Gillis
‘Woof! Woof! Woof! is playfully, deadly serious. Adventurous in form, reinventive of tradition, Mackenzie’s poetry is intricate, quasi-biblical, pleasurably musical, inflected with the brands and personas of our pop-culture dance of death. These poems read like the soliloquies of a hilariously cantankerous, modern-day prophet, roaring with ingenious indignation for society’s ills and taboos, all counterbalanced by a self-deprecating charm and creeping compassion. The work takes aim at politics, and the politics of art, among other deserving targets. This is a poet in midstride at midlife, at ease with his talents, awake to both the ironies of innocence and the grim inevitabilities ahead. But I have tried to summarize my impressions of what the book means; Mackenzie’s poems are a joy simply for their sound, their evocation of the senses, their echoing mystery.’ —Dan O'Brien
‘This is a dense, allusive, layered collection and I feel I shall need several more readings to really get under its skin. That will be no hardship, and anyway I always feel it is a virtue in a book not to give up all its meaning at once.’ —Sheenagh Pugh
‘Mackenzie always seems to manage to blend the dichotomy between seriousness and humour with irrevocable style; prodding us to question what it is we should take seriously at all, and, this poem is no different; with a lace-up of double-entendres and clever lyrical dips in language, embedding pop song lyrics alongside the political climate, popular culture with the slightly surreal.’ —Scottish Poetry Library