Poor Tom's Revenge
reviewed by Les Merton in The Black Rose, May 2003

(The Black Rose, 56 Marlescroft Way, Leighton, Essex IG10 3NA)

Poor Tom's Revenge, by Brian Fewster.
Published by: Poor Tom's Press, 89a Winchester Avenue, Leicester, LE3 lAY (wrong ISBN given). 36pp: Price 3.00.

'Poor Tom's Revenge' emphasises Brian Fewster's pedigree of being published in quality magazines. The title poem flows smoothly, from 'Cardboard City'. Even with some predictable rhyme it still left me wanting more after the last stanza.

'Poor Tom's Revenge'
"With my enormous shadow
I stun the politicians.
Their matchbox town I trample down
and all their wise ambitions."
In this, his first collection, Brian Fewster uses a variety of topics for his creations. 'What We Don't Know' was inspired by a tombstone, in Settle Churchyard, erected in memory of a mother and her newborn son who both died within a two-week period.
'What We Don't Know'
"Carrying him the best part of a year
you must have thought about him every day.
You knew that being pregnant often meant
nine months of work screwed up and thrown away."
Brian Fewster goes for another form of variation with 'The Poet'. This is a paraphrase of a recently-discovered fragment of Chaucer's Prologue. The author has not gone for a literal translation and tries to transpose it into a more contemporary idiom. Although his definition doesn't work for me, I applaud the poet for his attempt. It's so easy to play safe.

'The Seven Deadly Sins' are examined in a sonnet sequence and stay in keeping with today's world. Look at this wonderful list in 'Gluttony':-
"From stuffed auk, battered dodo, bison steak
to wallaby and passenger-pigeon pie".
I'll close the quotes with a great line from 'Lust'.
"His compass needle always points to north.".
Brian Fewster is talented, this book will help to establish him. In future collections of his work, to move his reputation forward, he must avoid including poems that repeat a rhyme used in another poem in the same publication.

As far as I know, there is no recently discovered fragment of the Prologue. My note was tongue-in cheek. Both versions were written by me.

Return to Brian Fewster's poetry site