Toothache is a common, shared experience
because we all have teeth and our nerves are wired in the same way.
The same is true of emotions…
Too much toothache. Doesn’t Holub mean too much
writing about toothache as if it’s mine, as if doing so
exempts from objectivity?
For the past twenty years Alan Dent's caustic, witty,
polemical, enthusiastic and highly individual reviews of
modern poetry have been the most eagerly read section of his
magazines The Penniless Press and Mistress
Quickly's Bed. Few critics can boast of having a poem
written about their activity (Dentistry by Edward
MacKinnon), but it isn't surprising Dent has: he may divide
opinion, but he is always memorable and never afraid of
making enemies ( at least the right ones).
This volume contains all his poetry reviews since 1995
together with a few longer pieces. Follow the thread of
their argument and you will find an original and bracing
view of modern poetry in Britain.
The title is drawn from a quotation by Miroslav Holub used
as the book's epigraph. Taking his cue from the great Czech,
Dent hunts down the excessive subjectivity of modern poets
and spikes it. In doing so he works out a different
possibility for poetry.
No one interested in modern poetic practice should miss this