KIM TAPLIN: GOODFELLOW
KIM TAPLIN: SNOW BUNTINGS AT BARTON POINT
89 Connaught Rd
ISBN 0 9529994 7 1
email Sixties Press
visit Sixties Press' website
Web design by
This page last updated: 11th December 2007.
|KIM TAPLIN: GOODFELLOW|
This is one long poem of 64pp in nine sections, introduced as a poem which
unearths an archetype that today's society needs and undervalues.Personally I doubt if this society will ever recover from the spate of its own false archetypes of celebrities, fashion and commercially driven images in the media which mask over more fundamental and age-old concepts such as Goodfellow and his aliases of mischief makers. His archetypal disguise is chameleon-like and materialistic. He (why no she?) is a good literary base for a long poem, but I question whether we need to know his provenance and derivatives as vital aids to society, except to disturb one-way adult minds over-conditioned by protocol.
If the premises are exaggerated, on the other hand the themes of Goodfellow, Puck &c find an affectionate and passionate place in the poem. How much is Taplin as Puck or Puck alone on his individualistic way is anybody's guess. Wild but not woolly often in rude rurality, the crude technique of it all mixed with more precise observance comes over, inducing a pleasant latitude of acceptance to the reader (or should do unless he/she is hidebound) as the lines push out any pre-sense of orderly expectation. In parts it is simple to puerile, but put the parts together and an elephantine Puck stamps down analytic or academic opposition to technique and content as he trumpets on his way as the pages advance.
I can't do much better than quote at random commencing with Taplin's observation of Goodfellow, which I suspect is an individual need projected as universal:
All I can say is that we need him like we need soil, and salt, and a good laugh.Early on we are truly treated to Goodfellow's international standing, although
But chiefly he's lived in the south of England: Pookhill, Pookreed, Poukepit, Poppets Puckscroft, Puckstyle, Puckshot, Pugneys Puck Hay, Puck Pit, Puck Pool, Puckrup, Powk Lane . . .An enhanced pug dog is an aspect of the mischievous and irreverent black humour:
Let's have a dog so fierce she said that it has to go out with its jaw tied up yes let's he said and make it one that has the tail curled up and back so that everyone can see its arseThere's his cockney streak:
Goodfelllow's been a cockney in his time piled a barrow with fruit when it pleased him driven a black cab 'I seed that lady larfin'' he said once & she liked to quote it over & over againThe church gets it in the neck, but then it would:
now the church had problems with playfulness or with any power not its own so when you get to the Middle ages the priests are preaching the one Pouke who was the Devil and utterly damnedI commend this poem to the House of Lord Goodfellow, to be swallowed whole as a tonic pill prior to submitting tax returns.
|reviewer: Eric Ratcliffe.|
|KIM TAPLIN: SNOW BUNTINGS AT BARTON POINT|
The good poetry in this booklet deserves better treatment than it gets. There is an impression, and it may be unfounded but nevertheless it is there, that some of the middle-of-the-book poems with their smaller typeface and crammed appearance have simply been copied from the magazines in which they first appeared; and it is as if these somehow lesser middle-of-the-book poems deserve less favourable treatment than those at the front and back of the collection — those in the shop window. That's my gripe. It's now out of the way.
The publisher's note informs that
some of this poetry first appearedin no less than 14 magazines in Canada, South Africa, U.S.A and Great Britain. These magazines include Obsessed with Pipework, The Swansea Review and Fire. No need to worry about the quality of the poetry then, one would think.
SNOW BUNTINGS AT BARTON POINT takes its title from a verse in part 2 of the opener STUFF:
when the world is too much with me I pick up the phone & dial the South-east birdlineThe birdline reports amongst recent sightings:
a flock of snow buntings at Barton PointSTUFF is a 13 page sequence and in its opening lines it describes itself thus:
as little kids coming home from a walk carry flowers, feathers, pebbles & bits of twig so I bring bits & bobs in the mind's pockets this New Year's Day.STUFF's bits & bobs includes birds, books and poets and some other characters who take her fancy:
a black bullock looks at me over the fence his breath smelling so much sweeterand:
a worn woman and her big simple son pass me in the laneKim Taplin excels when describing the great outdoors and the curious things she sees through her birdwatcher's binoculars. Consider the following description in A ROAD TO DOVER, the third poem in the book:
a brown old woman is sitting against a groyne she is hump-backed ... she wrestles back her sand-brown legs into her beautiful jade-green tights ... letting the sea enter where no man enters and as she rubs her skin with a gritty towel a little water warmed by its sojourn inside her trickles downAnother fine work is her poem BACKPACKING IN THE OUTER HEBRIDIES. Here again, characterization and descriptive writing is her strongpoint. In South Uist a farmer describes the rarely seen corncrakes:
"Beg as checkuns" — the farmer spreads his hands —In Harris:
... a tough man with an eye patch talks on the phone in Gaelic and sounds so tenderThe theme of Taplin's six published poetry collections, including SNOW BUNTINGS AT BARTON POINT is the
common celebration of the natural world and walking in itas the cover write-up puts it. That is Kim Taplin's great strength.
In this collection there's a little parading of irrelevant knowledge; the classics and such things. Several poems are sprinkled with names and quotes, when they might be better off without them.
I hope Kim Taplin continues to focus on her bits & bobs, her wrynecks and snow buntings and all the other curiosities spied along the highways and byways for that is her forte. Her fans will then shower her with fivers.
|reviewer: Gwilym Williams.|