So Glad I’m Me by Roddy Lums­den (Blood­axe Books, £9.95)

Sunday Herald Life - - BOOKS REVIEW -

Lazy read­ers of­ten use the notion of poetry as ob­fus­ca­tion to avoid en­gag­ing their brains. But some­times their baf­fle­ment is ap­po­site. Lums­den’s po­ems are the worst sort: a ran­dom ag­glom­er­a­tion of words and ugly phrases that most of the time mean nothing to ev­ery­one but him. His “con­fla­tion” poetry, for in­stance, where one sub­ject, nor­mally a pop­u­lar song, is used to shed light on an­other, leaves us in the dark. There are a few small, per­sonal po­ems that glow with clar­ity: The Hoopoe is about the ir­ra­tional na­ture of love, and Ash­nar Sarkar, Aged 5, de­picts a child’s tri­umphant and de­ter­mined bike ride. But, then, turn the page, and there is yet an­other te­dious and showy list poem. This is Lums­den’s 10th collection, but it reads like un­der­grad­u­ate free verse: frothy lo­g­or­rhoea (see, we can all do it). There is no me­tre, no con­trol and, de­spite Lums­den’s light-hearted tone, no fun here. One might ten­ta­tively con­clude there is also no poetry.

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