STEVE SNEYD: GESTALTMACHER, GESTALTMACHER, MAKE ME A GESTALT
Four Quarters Press
7 The Towers
ISBN 0 953511 32 4
STEVE SNEYD: THREE STAR CHAMBER
63 Dixon Lane
STEVE SNEYD: AHASUERUS ON MARS
38 Pierrot Steps
71 Kursaal Way
Southend on Sea
STEVE SNEYD: THE BARDS #6
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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.
|STEVE SNEYD: GESTALTMACHER, GESTALTMACHER, MAKE ME A GESTALT|
This is the first substantial collection of Steve Sneyd's poetry since IN COILS OF EARTHEN HOLD University of Salzburg Press, 1993). With that out of print, those who wish to get an overview of his work since will need to start here.
Ian McMillan notes in his FOREWORD that
it's a walk with Steve from his house to the edge of the universe and beyond.This book follows that walk, arranging itself into five sections that take us from Mainstream realism, through responses to aspects of the part of Yorkshire where I live, into encountering pasts in the present tense to dark fantasy and the final 25-page science fictional/speculative explorations.
It's a walk that will have you wondering where your feet are going to land next, and if indeed there's any solid ground beneath them at all. The first three sections, apparently rooted in realism and specific locale, are as mind-bogglingly fantastic as any STAR WARS movie:
and in between casualty figures coming through from Mazar i Sharif Bald Vulture Claw says has got answer on poet query but have run out of time YOUR FIRST NAME AND TOWNThe two final sections give us the Steve Sneyd most are familiar with, freewheeling through space and time as in THE CASE OF THE QUESTING BEAST
black hole swallows all — but where does what is swallowed go? ah comes out white hole elsewhere else when they say easy to graspScience fiction meets fantasy and speculative poetry in a head-on collision leaving the reader reeling and breathless. It's not for the fainthearted, being mostly unpunctuated stream-of-consciousness writing that makes demands of the reader, effortlessly skimming ideas around to be picked up by the alert: viz A CALL TO MIND IS A CALL TO ACTION
greenypurple as winter bramble deathbedded he-it-they strive to call back to aching side all those offshoots driven out to farflungs of the spiral arm lucky for their convenience now newrooted in another clime the message system long ago ceased functioning and so remains all on its ownieownieoIf you buy one poetry collection this year, make it this one — the poetry of the 21st and 22nd centuries is here, now.
|reviewer: John Francis Haines.|
|STEVE SNEYD: THREE STAR CHAMBER|
This is a tiny fun booklet from Steve Sneyd, who previously taught creative writing. He won the Peterson Trophy for Poetry, Newcastle 1996. He also won the annual award from the Pendragon Arthurian Society in 1991, and was nominated as Small Press Writer of the Year in the 1980s. All the poems are titled and are written in the 5/7/5 format (5 syllables on the first line, 7 syllables on the second line, and 5 syllables on the third line):
red mist all round this far realm, we can no longer see to add more bloodThe one above is called A REAL TEST OF HUMAN RESORCE. There is an illustration on the cover by Alan Hunter, and a couple inside by Cory Harding, that are very pleasant and in keeping with the content, which is a light-hearted take on outer space.
|reviewer: Doreen King.|
|STEVE SNEYD: STEVE SNEYD: AHASUERUS ON MARS|
Steve Sneyd can be something of an acquired taste. His liking for compound words and minimal punctuation plus sci-fi subject matter can make his poems seem over-dense on the page.
... surface only seconds away now and soon will step out make my first transmission oh now shall I tell who what I am laugh how whatever checks they made failed to reveal explain first on Mars not man but Endless Immortal Guilty One laughweep through my aliases say shrugwise well at least my parents guessed right twice that I would be something someone of fame of great things huge name all-known was not mere foolish delusions of grandeur in the family thinking great prospects for me named me Ahaseurus — Bible name for Emperor Xerzes, husband of Esther and now he forget not I — perhaps it was that name gave me impudence call it or need to be in spotlight to all others letting pass in silence step past my cobbler shop threshold — cobbler shop, a man like me, well beneath my name my talent but that is was life — to insult spurn jeer you call it correct name it seemed to me just passing time of day less cruel than not a word to him come dragging by in day from prophet preacher popstar famous into crawling deathward criminal...However, take the trouble to read aloud and find that the line and stanza breaks occur in natural breath spaces and much attention has been paid to assonance and sound-patterns. For example, that "laughweep" isn't just a repetition of the earlier "laugh" but sets up an assonance with "shrugwise" and the long vowels echo and complement the "o" sounds throughout the quoted section. Then contrast the flippant "laughweep... shrugwise" with the tone of the alliterative "crawling deathward criminal" where the rhythm changes and the phrase picks up the earlier "correct", "cruel" and "come dragging". It's a taste worth acquiring.
|reviewer: Emma Lee.|
|STEVE SNEYD: THE BARDS #6|
Bard Hair Day?
The Bards is a series inspired by Bard, designed to showcase the work of individual poets — so writes D.J. Tyrer, editor of this series "of handy leaflet-style collections" of which #6 contains the work of Steve Sneyd. This A4 (folded) sheet contains one longish (75 line) poem about Ramon Mercader contemplating the assassination of Leon Trotsky and two shorter poems, the purpose of these being less clear.
Sneyd's reputation — built as a writer of Science Fiction — is not enhanced by this pedestrian collection of non-SF poems. Neither does the reputation of the press benefit: this leaflet is carelessly produced, with no gutter between page fold and text on the copy I received of this uninspired collection.
|reviewer: Patrick B. Osada.|