The best way to describe Andrew Taylor’s new chapbook is twilight. I felt as if I was constantly in a winter moment, streetlights just coming on, a stray cat wandering across the pavement, and the sun barely there. This book is about moments, private moments and observations. It is a certain kind of poetry that captures the essence of THEN. There is no story-line per se, no real movement or fancy word-play, this is just a book about time and place. Also, it is very British. The title, MAKE SOME NOISE: The Woking Poems, leads one to believe they are based in Woking. Seems logical. So, where the hell is Woking? Well, it is south-west of London. I’ve never been there myself, but the book gives me enough of a sense of what it must be like I don’t really need to go there.
The poems are also about riding in cars, being close to motorways, lights, things, etc. Again, they are all very situational. My favorite poem of the book is a list poem. This one I think is quite clever, because it uses enough archetypical imagery so that I felt like I knew the essence of the poem without having to drive to Woking to understand it (maybe because part of it takes place in New York City, I assume). It is called These are the things that kill me…An excerpt:
Eggs Benedict Washington Square diner, Verte Valee shirts,
calls from Parisian telephone boxes, Amelie, So Said Kay,
Billy's 13,000 photographic archive, Jess and her big brown
eyes, John Miller's paintings, plans to demolish Stanley Dock
and its warehouses.
I think Andrew is being a bit daring with this book. It is dedicated to a specific man and I think that the poems are relative to that individual. In that sense the entire small collection, approximately 26 pages in all, is homage to a period and a person. Since I don’t know the person or the author’s relationship to that person, I had to take the book at its face value; a snapshot. A view inside of a mind as it recorded vignettes that froze in the author’s passing wake. I think this kind of poetry has a certain value and for British readers will be appealing for its common-experiential nature. For anyone else, it will be a peek at a special, personal world, at twilight.
Opinion: Fine Read
-reviewed by GJ