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