At Babble Gum this month (the music/poetry/comedy night I co-run in Newcastle), we were lucky enough to bring up Nottingham-based poet Stephen Thomas, who brought his new book Alphabet Spaghetti.
I loved it.
Ian Dury off of the Blockheads once sang ‘I could be a poet, I wouldn’t have to worry.’
If he had been, he’d have been proud of many of these playful poems.
Mixing cheeky English wit with occasionally cutting political satire, the book is mature and fantastically immature all at once. It’s careful, considered, necessarily economical with language and wonderfully silly.
The concept is a book of 26 poems, one for each letter of the Alphabet (a poem for A, a poem for B, etc), in which each poem only uses words which begin with the corresponding letter.
Subjects range from the dangers of utopia to the fantastic hairdos of the keepers of Hell, to xenophobic, X-Men hating xylophones.
As Stephen had come up to perform, I was lucky enough to hear some of the poems in live performance, where they stand up excellently as well.
I just read the whole book on my lunch break and laughed out loud loads of times. It’s mint. In a culture of self-searching, it’s a well-worked antidote, a timely injection of daftness, with its tongue in its cheek and its feet planted firmly on the floor. Totally recommended. And it’s got some lovely illustrations to boot.
Stephen’s website is here. Give him a shout if you fancy a read of it yourself!
The book was published by Big White Shed in Nottingham – check them out here.