Mike Quille introduces a new collection of poetry from Culture Matters.
Housmans, the not-for-profit radical bookshop, is at the foot of the Caledonian Road near King's Cross station in North London. It was the venue for the recent launch of A Third Colour, Culture Matters' new collection of poems by Alan Dunnett with accompanying images by the artist Alix Emery.
Music from Dungeness, Niobe, Pumajaw and Love, with their fractured, dystopian concerns, was played, echoing and complementing the themes of the poems. Readings with other Culture Matters poets will follow in the summer
‘These are poems of the first importance by the least self-important of writers’ says Bernard O’Donoghue in his introduction. Through the sheen of vivid, simple narratives and vignettes, we glimpse more disturbing, ambivalent themes of alienation, dislocation and suffering, the psychological fallout of anxiety in modern capitalist culture. These are serious, quietly passionate poems, about topics that matter in life: love and hurt and justice. Some are masterpieces of humanity and compassion, concerned with mothers and daughters, and with brothers and sisters. Others are bitterly ironic commentaries on politics and modern government.
The subtly expressed unease and angst is perfectly complemented by the restrained, fractured images by Alix Emery, which add depth, colour and enhanced meanings to the poems. Feelings of disorientation and existential aloneness run through the images, and the repetition of red dots in the images - and throughout the beautifully designed book - hint at the underpinning network of cultural control and surveillance which facilitates our exploitation and oppression under capitalism.
A Third Colour is a book of visionary, poetic parables and dystopian, uneasy images. It is a principled and skilful expression of, and protest against, the world we live in.
A Third Colour is £8 (plus £1.50 p&p) and you can order copies here.
Mike Quille is a writer, reviewer and chief editor of Culture Matters.