NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
GEOFF TOMLINSON: COACH PARTIES WELCOME
Mudfog
c/o Arts Development
The Stables
Stewart Park
The Grove
Marton
Middlesbrough
TS7 8AR
UK
ISBN 1 899503 50 1
2.50

GEOFF TOMLINSON: A19
Mudfog
ISBN 1 899503 64 1
3.50

visit the website of Mudfog

www
NHI review home page
FAQ page
Notes for Publishers

book reviews
anthologies
magazines
other media

Web design by Gerald England
This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
GEOFF TOMLINSON: COACH PARTIES WELCOME

Some rambling, prosaic, certainly amusing musing on disparate subjects like school, tying laces, a visit to the dentist, Socrates, a bottle of wine, the local pub, etc., all presided over by Geoff Tomlinson hiding behind a rather simple-minded poetic persona. He constructs a particular premise, for example that Socrates is famous but wrote nothing so to be famous it is advisable to write nothing, and then the poem spins round variations of that theme. In MRS BENNETT FACES THE MILLENNIUM he creates a modern-day Mrs Bennett anxious to marry off her daughters in a world of single mums and the like:

       I've got to get these daughters married off,
       'cos Marylin's got another on the way
       and Janice earns next to nothing at the bookie's.
       Tammy's a tart, but she just can't make it pay.
Many of the poems aim to create this self-deprecating picture of a jokey, boozy and impoverished persona, as in WOULD YOU CREDIT IT?:
       Fearing loss of memory, brought on
       by too much drinking, smoking, eating fat,
       I set myself, last week, to memorise
       the Kings and Queens of England.
COACH PARTIES WELCOME and its twenty poems is certainly worth a visit if you like that matey, chatty Northern openness the poet deliberately and self-mockingly conjures up, as in ARCADE GAMES:
       Down the arcade in Seaton Carew,
       a few doors from the chippie,
 
       Dora, mam's friend, gives the change
       for the machines.
In the poem COACH PARTIES WELCOME he sums up his dilemma by stating that
       everything I've tried so far, viz;
       drinking myself sillier,
       employing four mistresses,
       killing courgette-plants,
       not doing-it-myself and
       avoiding psychotherapy
                  has worked
       but has given no satisfaction
       whatsoever. In late middle-age
       you need help. Just because you're not
       entirely geriatric or into
       Alzheimer's it doesn't mean you couldn't
       do with an imaginative hint or two.

reviewer: Alan Hardy.
GEOFF TOMLINSON: A19

There is a real touch of autumn about A19 by Geoff Tomlinson. It carries through his poetry, in this slim volume from Mudfrog Press, as a tingling melancholia, which for the most part Tomlinson keeps just out of direct sight, to come through strongly in some poems.

Tomlinson combines this melancholy with a dry humour at times, such as in MIDDLE-AGED POETS, where the poem's speaker is perusing a volume of poetry, complete with its author's photograph. The speaker questions the turn of phrase used by this particular poet, finding him:

	fractious, sad, a disheartened lover
Tomlinson then finds in the volumes accompanying notes that:
	he is two years younger than I.
This reader finds a lot of interest in Tomlinson's combining of urban and country. As the book's title suggests it is the boundary of a particular road, the A19 that gives some definition to Tomlinson's parameters. As the speaker says in the eponymously titled poem this gives him:
	somewhere to go.
	We need never run short of horizons.
	White lines reassure us
The theme of having somewhere to go recurs in JOGGING BLACKHALL ROCKS. This time we find the speaker:
	Half way between wherever
	I was and where
	I'm going.
But with a strong dollop of self-cynicism he later adds:
	but larger than life
	and heading for the drop.
This beautifully presented chapbook contains nineteen poems and has a really strong graphic image on its front cover. It is well worth the 3.50 and the time in perusing Tomlinson's road-view of the world.

reviewer: Barbara Smith.