Poetry Basket Review

Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to the Poetry Basket Review. We have a stunning collection in our basket today.

Riveted by Graham Buchan’s impressive new collection The Pleasure of Firing Back, I gave it a golden review. Please do read and really consider buying this very strong book of poems.

The Pleasure of Firing Back
by Graham Buchan

Graham Buchan has an impressive background, and this is his fifth collection of poetry, published for the third time with Lapwing Publications. Dedicated to the memory of his father, with wistful, poignant words at the beginning of this powerful collection. These words set us in the right mood.

For those not familiar with this poet, do look at his YouTube channel for some impressive readings. The link is below.

So, our journey begins, tenderness intertwined with the horrors of war and disturbing images. However, by the time we are drawn into these, we do not want to go back. We get deeply involved very quickly.

Such as the powerful opening of the short stanza Father. The central figure of this collection. The words an old-age orphan are bitter ones, and hard to swallow. An unwelcome status. A strong first piece to embrace the fresh reader.

Pints is endearing and sordid, with the title of the book resounding. Blood red, disturbing, and the awareness that the poet will not be gentle with us. Memoire of an Optimist gives us the full-on horrors of war, tender words threaded with bloodshed. The poet draws you in nicely and horrifically, chilling us to the bone.

Stadium is a real historical human situation, and Yard is so vivid that we too feel the urgency to hide slayings from children. A sickening feeling. We share man’s inhumanity to man, the starkness that human beings are so cruel to each other.

Impressive prose pieces such as Imbros, and The Torturer and his Love for Beethoven really emphasise this point. The latter having such gruesome brutality riding alongside a passion for Beethoven. As we’re taken through the elements that define him, we witness the narrator accepting his fate.

Number is valid and horrific with the tyranny of Stalin in the Ukraine. I really love the listed details, and how these atrocities are recurring. The Stories That Don’t Get Told voices the details of families lost forever which we should indeed be told about. Very absorbing.

Personal favourite We Found…. A love story that didn’t last, and lessons learnt. Adored this piece. The End is sordid and yet it isn’t. The graphic words make us flinch but we wouldn’t dream of stopping reading.

Howard and Miriam jumped out at me, and was enthralling. Toot-Toot, Beep-Beep is threaded so intricately that we are absorbed. This collection is hard and bumpy journey but one where we wouldn’t look back.

Review by H. Moulson 21st July 2022

Thanks for reading, PL’s and do treat yourselves to this extraordinary collection. Available from Graham Buchan himself. Catch him reading live real soon. I also recommend viewing Mr Buchan on YouTube for some impressive readings…..


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