Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Planet-shaped Horse, a Review by Todd Swift

This picture has nothing to do with the reviewer or reviewee.  Apologies.

This will not be a review, because that would be boring and mean I have to talk about someone else.  Actually, reviews are little machines for pretending to be interested in someone else.  The longer they are, the more they are about the writer.  This review is about Luke Kennard.  Luke Kennard is two things we all want to be: tall and funny.  He is, thirdly, young, and fourthly, British, and fifthly, smart about poetry.  So that's six things, really, if you count famous.  I am not sure about rich.  Luke Kennard did not use my blurb on his new pamphlet.  This hurt until I realised it was an oversight.  Life is bearable again.  I like the title: Planet-shaped Horse.  Notice this is not Pluto-shaped Hearse.  Or Plant-shaped House.  Those will come.  Give him time.  Kennard is funnier than every other poet writing in Ireland and Britain, including Kevin Higgins, Simon Armitage, and John Hegley, who are the other really funny poets.  He is as funny as Canada's David McGimpsey.  He is that good.  He may be funnier than Apollinaire, who was only funny in French, which is like being sexy in Cornish.  I did not mean that.  I want to be ecumenical here.  He is like a screwball slapsticking a pratfall over a barrel of lubed-up monkeys.  He is the Goon Show meets Laurel and Hardy on Acid.  Planet-shaped Horse has its own Mr. Bones sort of thing happening - it has Simon and Miranda, who are characters who - in every poem which is like a new cartoon panel every day - change their identities like others change diapers: often, and for good reason.  This allows the poet/Kennard to be anywhere, but usually near to a mental halfway-home.  The key note word in all this is: prose poem minus poem to make it one word.  No one can write like Kennard but that won't stop the dogs dying.  People will now waste their lives trying to be him like we all were WC Williams for about 80 years.  Why do we still think Charles Olson was good when all he did was write lyrically with indents?  In New France, it was a royal decree that forbade sledding on snow in the 1600s that led to the death of fewer than five seigneurs - syntax off.  So - anyway, this new pamphlet is now the gold standard for surreal ha-ha English hu-mahr.  I also like the drawings and the funny bit about Hughes.  Dirigible mandolin sex practice, PART THREE.  Men want to be Kennard and woman want to be Kennard.  Does that mean we are all mortal?  Alcools on the Western Font.
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