Thursday 30 November 2023

Mat Riches, "Collecting the Data"


Mat Riches is from Norfolk, but lives in Beckenham. He has previously worked in a plastics factory, a variety of pubs, and a book wholesaler, but currently works in market research and as ITV’s (unofficial) poet-in-residence. He’s also a trainee Bongosero. When he’s not doing those things, he’s either being a parent, a husband or running. Sometimes all of them at once. He co-runs Rogue Strands poetry evenings, and blogs at Wear The Fox Hat. One of these facts is not true.

About Collecting the Data
Mat Riches offers a rare treat in this debut collection. In a voice that’s variously wry, thoughtful, witty and emotive, he explores a variety of relationships. Prepare to meet his family, but also his tomato plants, a weather balloon, a troublesome supertanker, a fisherman’s pond and the Arecibo Telescope. At one point, he finds himself with his head ‘wedged in the freezer.’ This is—yes—funny, but this poet is not just out for laughs. He writes from an unusual angle and it’s deliberate. He uses words to write about silence. Expect the unexpected.

You can read more about Collecting the Data on the publisher's website here. Below, you can read a sample poem from the collection. 

From Collecting the Data, by Mat Riches

A City Break
         Berlin, 2016

The rented flat on Fehrbelliner Straße was clean
and basic. There were no toys to be put away.

When our half-remembered high-school German failed us,
the locals’ greater grasp of English got us Biers

or schwarzer Kaffees. We took the chance to draw a breath
and take stock for the first time since Florence was born.

It’s embarrassing how fast we’d stopped noticing 
the goings-on behind the scenes of each other.

We laughed in the street about taking forever
to locate the entrance to the Stasi Museum

—despite standing outside it for over an hour.
And there was finally time to notice there was time

when you gave me a chance to talk about feelings
over the kind of Bratwurst only tourists buy

then asked where we might be going after this.

No comments:

Post a Comment