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Review of Chrissy Williams’ ‘The Jam Trap’

I have a review of Chrissy Williams’ The Jam Trap at Sabotage, my first review there for a while. Sabotage seems to have been publishing more and more reviews lately, so I’m pleased to have my name in there.

I wrote the review mostly without internet on holiday in Devon, and didn’t quite have the time to put in as much as I’d like. I’m not sure it’s a very good review, which is a shame as it’s a good book. Its casual, witty style in prose poems means it takes a bit of work to show the cleverness behind the scenes; there aren’t really any formal features to talk about, for instance. On the one hand, this makes it a great advocate for poetry for those who don’t normally read it (along with the attractive illustrations), but on the other hand, this lack of obvious technical skill can make non-poetry readers assume it’s facile if they dislike it (i.e., since, in an overtly technical poem, one can think ‘I don’t get it but I can see it’s doing something, I can appreciate the skill it took to write’, whereas in a prose poem about wanting to buy a dog there’s only ‘I don’t get it’). I’m hoping it gets reviewed elsewhere, because it deserves attention and it deserves a better review.

Also, it has a blurb on the back from Luke Kennard, who seems to be British poetry’s most profligate blurber at the moment. Maybe it’s just the books I’m reading.