Poor Tom's Revenge reviewed by Gemma Bristow in the online review New Hope International

Brian Fewster seems to have astutely chosen when to publish his first collection of poetry. He is already a mature writer, with a range of magazine credits to his name, and this is reflected in a notably assured and cohesive volume.

The book is a bold production, its challenging title printed across a collage of newspaper cuttings. The collection combines personal pieces with socio-political satire. Unusually, most of the poems are written in full rhyme and metre, and Fewster demonstrates a smooth command of different measures. Though the strict forms occasionally result in predictability, they are handled with assurance and grace, and Fewster avoids clichés and mere time-counting syllables. The forms can honestly be said to complement the content. Rhyme and singing metre provide a slick vehicle for Fewster's satirical comments and personas. In the handful of more personal poems that frame the book, rhyme and measure enhance the meditative, even obsessive tone of the speaker's interior monologue. See, for example, these lines from MINESHAFT, depicting a fraught post-lovemaking scene:

Already you are nowhere near.
Your fingers crawl across my back
and I am falling in your fear.
You are the cage and winding gear.
Fewster's satirical poems are targeted at selfishness and commercialism in the contemporary world. These targets are, admittedly, not difficult, and the satire is occasionally facile, but Fewster's sense of humour prevents him being simply self-righteous. (Indeed, the centerpiece of the book is an amusing squib about poets themselves.) More significantly, however, Fewster's particular strength is his ability to move from the concrete to the metaphysical, creating deeper resonance and insight out of everyday events. A prime example of this is the poem TERRITORY. Speculating how the frontiers of a garden might appear to a pet cat, he comes up with these superb lines:
...the boundary
between what is and what is not,

where the unformed and obsolete
in unimagined numbers beat
against the edge of entity
with insubtantial wings and feet.

Return to Brian Fewster's poetry site