Thursday 25 August 2022

Peter Raynard, "Manland"

Peter Raynard is a disabled, working-class poet and editor. His previous two books of poetry are Precarious (Smokestack Books), and The Combination: A Poetic Coupling of the Communist Manifesto (Culture Matters), both in 2018. He edited Proletarian Poetry: Poems of Working Class Lives, for five years, featuring over 150 contemporary poets. His second collection Manland was published by Nine Arches Press in 2022.

About Manland
Peter Raynard is a skilled observer, and these razor-sharp poems document parenthood through the lens of a stay-at-home dad, attempt to tell the truth about men and depression, study our cultural, social and medical relationships with drugs and drug-taking, and lay bare the realities of life at the sharpest edges of society. By turns frank, painful and bleakly funny, this humane and brilliant book encompasses pride and prejudices, the bonds between lads and dads, the toxic pressures of masculinity and the way illness and poverty irrevocably shape lives.

You can see more information about Manland on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a poem from the collection.

From Manland, by Peter Raynard

You Talking to Me?

'The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts' - Bertrand Russell.

Discussion unfolds like a front page scoop
that knits the purl of a bloody dispute.

In the fruit bowl of cups of tea couple of pints
breaking bread sat at a table on your knees

nose-to-nose problems arise when unused
to another’s game play. Such noise also flows

under arrogant bridges spanning two richly
educated rivers where the ‘they’ in ‘they said

is oracle, bulleted with ‘nothing of the kind’ 
& ‘puh-leeze’ - privileged weapons against empathy

until you’re told to wipe that political position
off your working class rowing boat. Full stops

include: ‘it’s always been a one-way street as far
as I’m concerned.’ or ‘I don’t care what you say

about smoking, my nan lived till she was ninety.
If all else fails to persuade, there’s always the ‘but still

the fine detail trump-of-all-cards not to be played
too early for fear of an undisputed spat that lets

the lions loose in your own den of antiquity. But still
if none of such floats your throat there’s always

the dulcet twist to be found in the space between
what you believe, what you say, and what the fuck

you are going to do about it. Now who wants a fight?

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