Friday, 15 March 2013

Fox Populi

My friend Kate Fox, the radio poet of the people, has a new book out. I think it's very reasonably priced and chock-full of fascinating stuff. There's humour here, because Kate is a witty person who thinks tangentially about almost everything. If you've heard her on Saturday Live on Radio 4, you'll know her already.


Some people are sniffy about 'funny' poems. The opposite of funny is unfunny, and the opposite of serious is trivial. While some of Kate's poems mention trivial things, they are seldom 'merely' humorous. At the launch at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle she had the audience laughing, often, but thinking all the time.

Indeed, the series of poems that round off Fox Populi - 'Only Connect' - riffs brilliantly, and at times hilariously, on the idea of mesmerism in the past and present. We move easily and weirdly between writer and proto-feminist Harriet Martineau, prostrate in Tynemouth in the 1840s, and a modern call centre worker. Brilliant stuff.

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