Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

The Blind Press, 2006 - no price given

 

There are several small things to admire about Stress. Firstly, the fact that it exists—that at 22, Richard Wink has accumulated enough work to produce a 40-page pamphlet. Secondly its energy. The book jumps with a sense of life lived and the need to wrestle its complications onto the page:

 

          midnight

          my trousers are around my ankles

          and I suddenly realise there are no angels

          when everything is so up in the air

 

                   (‘Nothing to do with Anything’)

 

Unfortunately these seem to be moments of accidental vividness and control. The poems that surround these five or six bright moments are flat, lines spilling over one another with little control, their language pedestrian or (perhaps worse) indulging a sort of adolescent transcendence: 

 

          near the kerb i notice a brown shoe left lying in the road

          a stark reminder of isolation

 

                   (‘Untitled #1’

 

We experience moments when the reader leaps up, heralding a genuine voice, only to be let down again:

 

          A weasel-like man with a white line moustache …

 

          My eyes avoid his blatant wide eyed state

          it’s an optical dog fight.

                   (‘White Lines’)

 

There are also poems which begin badly then suddenly lift into success, such as ‘A Pint After Work’:

 

 

          we would eventually become kings

          but we have no kingdom

          we do not sit on a throne

          we live in unspectacular homes

          with no real plans

          sitting idle

          with the world in our hands.

 

This is a far more telling depiction of the dead-end young working life than any of the other clubbing/lovesick lament/kebab-shop-incident pieces. The pamphlet is self-published and gives no evidence of prior publication. Perhaps Mr Wink should wait for the critical verdict of a dozen reputable magazines before moving to publish again, as there is something in his work—it simply needs nurturing.

 

James Roderick Burns

 

Pamphlet available from author at 41 Drayton Wood Road, Hellesdon, Norwich NR6 5BY, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.