Thomas McColl’s collection, BeingWith Me Will Help You Learn (US) from Listen Softly London, offers a varied and entertaining spread of poems that suggest he’s a keen observer of city life and human interaction.
There are stories and moments and ideas painted with a range of brushstrokes, all the way from the broad to the ultra-thin. Often they take a springboard from the concrete and leave on a tangent into the abstract and the absurd, which allows for some fine word-play and fun interpretation.
Many of the pieces strike a fine rhythm, which suggests that they not only read well but might be enjoyed even more when heard in performance.
Humour is often brought into play. It allows for a lot of fun, but also shines a light on prickly issues and less savoury snapshots. Lurking within this body of work are political shouts and calls for change, as well as a solid defence of poets and their oft overlooked value to the world.
The variety on offer means that there sure to be something for everyone. Even those who don’t normally turn to poetry will likely find this to be an accessible and pleasing journey.
Here’s a snapshot in case you’re still teetering at the threshold:
The Chalk Fairy
Each night I traipse
the streets of London,
drawing chalk lines
round homeless people
that, even in the early hours
of Christmas Day,
there’s no shortage of bodies
to draw my outlines round:
London’s one big crime scene
every single day of the year.