For Now, Edward Doegar
Clinic Publishing Ltd, 2017 £5.99 (currently on offer for £5.00)
Capital letters draw attention to themselves. It’s what they’re for. Everything is in caps on the cover of the pamphlet, as you can see, and stretched tall, with a sort of misfit shift halfway through each, so it feels like you're not seeing properly.
Inside the publication, the poems employ a capital letter to begin each word in each line, in the old way. But there’s no punctuation whatsoever – more modern. All poems are left-justified, with evenly divided stanzas – the old way again. But statements sometimes run across stanza breaks – contemporary-wise.
These are deliberate choices. Though the style in this pamphlet is consistent, the poet doesn’t always write like this – it’s easy to find punctuated work with caps only at the start of sentences published by him elsewhere.
The use of first word capitals clearly stands out as different, since Dave Coates also singled it out for comment. I am less enthusiastic about this feature of style than he is, though nonetheless intrigued by the stylistic consistency throughout this slender publication.
The caps at the start of each line divide the lines emphatically. Line-lengths are generally short and so for me there's almost a staccato effect. Sometimes this is terrific – as in ‘CARYATID’ – which is a long thin block, with each of the capital letters upholding the house of the poem, re-enacting the caryatid’s pillar of strength. In the opening poem too ('Anon'), they help pace the poem gradually: graceful rhythm and development, a half-hesitant, half-deliberate register.
But by the final poem of the 15, I was ready for some variation. I hankered after the lyrical phrasing and cadences I know this poet can accomplish – see ‘Half-Ghazal’, on the Poetry Society website.
I look forward to a book-length collection that will mix different forms and styles to show the full range of Edward Doegar’s undoubted skill.