PAUL SUMMERS: BIG BELLA'S DIRTY CAFE
Dogeater PO Box 990
Newcastle upon Tyne
ISBN 0 9546515 3 7
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This page last updated: 1st September 2009.
|PAUL SUMMERS: BIG BELLA'S DIRTY CAFE|
Set firmly in his native north-east BIG BELLA'S DIRTY CAFÉ has universal resonances. His many readings in and around Newcastle have established him as both a popular and necessary poet, as have his music collaborations with Dave Hull-Denholm.
The key, to this, his second collection, is to be found in his direct, no bullshit approach to poetry. Telling it as it is in OCTOBER SONG where he revels in his own childhood nostalgia finding evocative lines like:
old archie wets a conker with his spit & polishes it to a racehorse sheenAnd in SCHOOL PHOTO:
we were deranged looking, ragged kids in badly fitting blazers, all skinhead & broken nose, segged brogues & Jam badges.The aspiration of trapped youth is beautifully told in SNIFFA'S OFF THE GLUE: (Sniffa)
wants to be a beachcomber on some lonely coast debs saw him in the library— the library! Searching for Tahiti dan saw him yesterday, crouched on the pier, staring hard at the long horizon, hunting the curve, knowing that somewhere in the sea's grey haze the lost arc is cradled by blue.and the sense of greyness is continued in NOVEMBER SONG as
stormclouds steal impotent light of shrinking days the hiss of prospero's bitter spells in requiem dirgeAnd in GREY:
it is the type of afternoon a man could paint himself grey become invisible.He is a poet to whom the crafted use of descriptive language is essential. In PLAIN he looks at the history of his region
over denwick,the sun,a burst yolk sitting its gilt on dampened wheat, pinting sapphires on the magpie's flanks cold basalt whalebacks on the beach a lime-washed tern surfing the thermals & caedmon's porly host sipping mead finding philosophy in the movement of the dunes, bernicia's surrendered forts, fading cup stains herding their summits like busy collies the stuttering corpse whispers a ballad, conjures memories, bruised with dirt.Summer's journeyings lead eventually to thoughts of mortality and death. In ENGLISH BREAKFAST an
old man is dying of something he cannot spellIn LAST RITES
There are no pockets on a shroudAnd in AUTUMN the inevitable greyness returns
outside & above, sky, the colour of failure grey boughs recoil & leaves submit the worst mask ever made,the most futile.BELLA'S CAFÉ is not however the poetry of bleakness because the underlying driving force is of an optimism driven by hopeful observation. He is first and foremost a sharp observer, and secondly a gentle critic.
|reviewer: John Cartmel-Crossley.|