Here is a review, or at the very least, a series of thoughts that I had, about reading ‘Upon Arrival, Drop Your Cool’, which is a pamphlet of poems by Jim Hall. I had these thoughts and wrote them down straight after receiving said book through the post and reading its contents.
It is now about a week after that happened, but having read my thoughts back I still agree with them. This is them:
I’ve just read ‘Upon Arrival, Drop Your Cool’, the new and eagerly awaited pamphlet of poems by Jim Hall. Well I’ve eagerly awaited it anyway, as have many of the people that I know who know him, have heard and read his writing and have spent time with him and know him as a beautiful soul.
So it arrived, in a brown envelope with my name hand-written. It had a dedication. I read it all in one go and it made me simultaneously want to stare at everything in my room and appreciate its existence, individually and collectively, run downstairs and soak up time with my flatmates and quietly appreciate that they each exist individually and collectively and stay curled on my bed and write until my wrists and my head exploded and I didn’t know whether to weep or laugh and run five miles to relieve some of the tension.
‘Upon Arrival’ has paralysed me in a way that really good poetry can – by presenting so much love for the world and endless opportunity within it, all at once. It is laced with the influences of contemporary music, both wildly pop and alternative, American freeverse and Whitman-esque love and appreciation of the world that I know Jim for. But these poems are honed and crafted in a way that’s mature, considered, well thought out, while keeping their crucial conversational up-front honesty.
The effect is beauty without pretence, clear evidence of hours of thought without sluggishness. These poems sing. They hold out a hand, they squeeze, they shake, lift up your chin and chicken dance in your bedroom before sitting down and reminding you you’re important.
It’s a bit of a journey. I can’t wait to read these poems again and again and again.
Check out more of Jim’s work at flawsfoldedtoorigamiswans.tumblr.com