NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
ED REISS: NOW THEN
Smith/Doorstop Books
The Poetry Business
The Studio
Byram Arcade
Westgate
Huddersfield
HD1 1ND
UK
ISBN 1 902382 83 8
3
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ED REISS: NOW THEN

No one could deny Mr Reiss's ability to use language with masterly precision, although a few might find him consistently combative and, at times, aiming for effect a little too obviously. For those then who prefer poesy of a safer ilk many of the pieces will seem odd-angled and overly consonantal. These odd-angles are, of course, his strengths. He views his subjects, like the camera of an avant-garde filmmaker, with courageous innovation this from GNOSTICS in which the poet bemoans the 'School of Social Sciences'.

	Suppose that men don't have penises
	and everybody chooses from a smorgasbord
	of polymorphous perversities
	no hand has seen, no eye has heard.

	Live with fantasists too long
	And their obstortions come to seem the norm. [sic]
	There's a process you might call collusion
	here in the School of Social Sciences.
In the next four stanzas he likens it to a monastic community in Tabbinisi circa 370AD who conceal codices in a jar beneath the sands of Nag Hammadi. Codices that once interpreted say
	that saint and sinner

	live in light no tongue has heard,
	no ear has seen, no doubt occurred.

	 a truly gnostic, esoteric belief.
Some readers may prefer his less up-front pieces. The rather minimalist, ODD, I find moving (again angled uniquely). The little boy is quizzing his father who is having an early morning shave (final two stanzas):
	do you know what I mean,
	it's odd
	to think that I'm me?
	(and you  you);

	and he replied,
	as if he did know,
	but hadn't time to take it further:
	yes, I think I do.
He uses a combination of Dr Spooner and Stanley Unwin in IN WUNBRIDGE TELLS:
	After seer and bandwiches at Drowning Steet
The piece sends up, quite hilariously, the goings-on of Government in a language more apposite than plain English.

There are many linguistic delights in these 26 poems. Most readers will enjoy hugely his prosodic fleet of foot.

reviewer: Michael Bangerter.