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.


Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

I have never actually read him but you make him sound rather interesting. Recently I've begun to wonder what the point of reviews really is. They are generally either a puff job if the reviewer is a friend of the poet or a hatchet job if they are not.

Best wishes from Simon

P.S. My poems are quite funny too!
English Poetry said…
I must admit, Todd, to not finding Kennard as funny as you and a lot of other fans of his, do. Perhaps this is because I am jealous, perhaps it is because I am not very clever, perhaps it is because 'I' have been bored by a thousand and one Kennardesque imitators over the past few years; these mimicking caricatures and copycats of what is, essentially, Monty Pythons Flying Circus; itself a 70's take on the surrealist Goons, who laid a template for British humor we have all ripped off and made our own, finding its release now in the poetic lines of Luke the lecturer, tall and witty, arranging a host of poems like Plethoric Air, 'the decomposing clown .. smashed on the balcony .. left shoe in the blood .. the doyen and her ten attachés scattering blossom on the divans .. charmed by a famous puppy, a dozen gold pins in her forehead;
a tendency to speak ill of the dead. 'The dead are so stupid,'
Luke said, 'using words we already hold to be meaningless.'

Wrought from the airy nothingness within his head, two dissimilar words, states, ideas or images, we 'saw the puppy flex her golden needles' The Buffoon of Unnatural Parsnips 'metaphors for the internet', gambolling along bright and cheery, youthful in zest and riffing on the Planet-shaped Horse in the gadzooks of this inner blah blah from a young one's first outstanding collection, always 'excellent' at 21, 22, 23; and always a chattering class of 'us' in critical mass, ponies and monkies, stags and does spent on the mojo of those we lent our ears to, at the bible of saint John and Sir Paul trapped outside The Harbour Beyond the Movie, The Migraine Hotel, our two brothers of sun that shaped our soul singing sweetly this song distinct and identical, apt and unsuitable, ying and yang opposites enjoined to matrons plunging from that LK 'nihilism .. fast becoming the richest source of meaning in my life', his turnips and swedes 'from the Embassy when the hairgrip fell out of her hair'.

A triple C class act where C means Celebrity Competence and Comprehension of things others lack, like lots of lovely X marking the spot where 'his colleagues chuckled and continued to admire her legs - this meastro of mirth teaching in Birmingham.

MC Lidl Class

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