Reuben Todd’s The Poet Creep replays an unstable world, a flickering heart, an excavating mind

 

 

Reuben.JPG

 

Reuben Todd, The Poet Creep, self published, 2017

 

I could eat you

with my bare feet.

 

Reuben Todd graduated from the Hagley Writers Institute and acknowledges the tutelage of Kerrin P. Sharpe and mentorship of Bernadette hall at the front of his new poetry collection, The Poet Creep. He works in multiple fields: writer, comic, director, actor and produces Christchurch’s live weekend sketch show, Skitch.

The poetry collection crept up on me slowly, and then picked up speed, like a wild wind gusting through my poetry-focused mind. Six distinctive sequences grasp the white space of the page and, using that as a key element, play with language to a point of  alluring freshness. Words hug the line,  dart above and below, congregate in prose-like flashes, are crossed out, repeat, splinter, break apart. The effect might induce poetry vertigo but instead I am pulled along a current of reading that replays an unstable world, a flickering heart, an excavating mind.

At times it feels like I have entered the realm of dystopian poetry where surreal channels bust the borders between the real, the longed for and the imagined.

‘IS?TANBUL’ is a surprising page turner – fidgety restless poetry – that responds to an unstable, immaterial world. Words repeat, letters float and drift or overlap (impossible to replicate on my staid blog).  In this sample note the ‘h’ and ‘f’ of ‘ashfelt are jammed tight as though intensifying the tension between heart and ruin:

 

earthworks

earthworks

earthworks

ashfelt

earthworks

trees

 

Sometimes a single line floats like a guest lyric:

 

Snow is falling like fat wet kisses

 

Blank pages reinforce the primacy of white space, the fresh start, the need to pause, the silent beat, the tacit sidestep, the unsayable, if not the unthinkable.

 

A sequence of B/W images, ‘UNCOUPLED V GNETTE’,  with ‘i’ missing, like a motif of self erasure, like a hiccup or pause, a bridge to the white space, pulls me to concrete details. Close-up images of architectural features form the book’s core. Interpreting this choice – the intricate, hard and designed surfaces of built things  – I feel the physical core absorbs the knotted movements, the virtual scenarios, the upended semantics, the tilted ground we stand on.

The final sequences, if not all the sequences, present autobiography that refracts and reflects stutters and sings. Then again, every word might be a downright lie. This is not important. The need to break and link, overlap and disintegrate, produces poetry that fires both heart and mind. Language is always on the move, and it is an exhilarating experience following it. I loved this collection.

Buda

calls

across

the

water

,

 

but

Pest

cannot

hear

.

 

Pest

calls

across

the

water

,

but

Buda

cannot

hear

.

 

from ‘Where we part.’

 

Reuben Todd web page

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