Under the Surface


The Autumn Myth, Joel Lane (76pp, Arc )


Really liked the abstract knifing on the front cover a bit Monet and Bacon to start. Good I'm thinking: then the first poem about finding a skull in a plastic bag: I'm reminded of that poem about the boy skeleton found in a chimney and I'm unimpressed. But the poetry is a bit more edgy than the first I read and not bad lines here see for yourself:

        The first thing you noticed, holding up
        its yellow cheekbones to the rain,
        was how it smiled. As if it knew
        its passport could not be revoked.
        It had found the way out of trouble:
        dropped from the news into science,
        taken its place among rocks and stars.

'Alas poor Yorick' I hear you mumbling to yourself - ama right or wrong! Mind you a skull in a plastic bag makes you wonder where is the rest of the shopping, will the body be close by in the refuse bin.

The Autumn Myth is pretty good having said this. Once you get into it we explore a few urban myths and there are various attacks at big business and political assumptions borne out of strategic concerns of the existential dichotomy. These poems dig around and go under the surface of the facade and inane blandness that is Britain and the world today. A world framed by claptrap advertising, inane lifeless celebrity obsession and fame junkyness. The poet delves into the imagination and gives it to you straight plastic skull filled bags and all.

The title poem suggests that global warming has eliminated Autumn. Lane's third book 'celebrates the October of the mind'.

A fair shout.

        James McLaughlin 2011