I love this book because it makes you dream of ancient feasts and future friends, tables of extraordinary seasons, because words become sturdy porridge become appetites become dangerous drinks of ground seeds become all of the meanings of bog butter and then all of the appetites again. And because each time I read the same poem, I've never read it before and I feel both at ease and astonished. How does she do that? With little pots of basil? And what to do with radish leaves? It is domestic. It is about the normal rituals of poverty and the politics of that coming from our sexed mouths. And besides, as Marilyn Monroe wrote, I've never seen an ugly bridge
Funny, restless, charming, shattering, Comic Timing offers up poems that are equations for living, squaring the components of a life - a real life: rent, admin, sex, tea, coffee, food, food, foodstuffs, the consequences of sex, mother, making, father, singing, performing, loving - in such a way that they are shown to come out in the negative, lest we 'leap like a flea' into 'marriage or a great big prize'. The result is a voice in minus one, on the backfoot, a voice that is thus forced to turn cartwheels, bending words into neologisms that allow Pester to get closer to the emotional truth of certain experiences than any other poet I can think of. Divided into four acts, this collection shows formal guile and genuine originality, as well as a commitment to song comparable to that of Denise Riley's. Here are songs of property, of the stain, the vagabond, the abortion. Of the metal donkey figurine
Holly Pester's Comic Timing renders the logic of the alphabet or an 'ancient language' as undone, animated, 'not a thing but time read/translated where there might be form.' I was compelled and moved by the many images related to shelter, injury and care: 'a cave for my injured friend,' 'kids...inside a clock,' 'a production line of sleeping bags, and even an aunt on 'the window ledge,' balanced there for just a moment, just as her "exasperated husband,' so briefly, was 'sitting next to her on the bed." Who is loved? Who incarnates the nest? Who can't get up/get back? 'Is there a dead bird in you?' asks the poet-narrator of a) the news cycle, b) practised forms of memory, c) an archive in San Diego. The line that stayed with me was this: 'what survives will not be apart from.' Pester has written a book that transmutes what it reclaims, when it can, and that's timely
Holly Pester on Granta.com
Fiction | The Online Edition
People Who Live Here
‘Another man dithering around six foot two had recently moved in.’
A story by Holly Pester, author of Comic Timing.