Edward Lear set out to administer mirth to thousands. Jeremy Over is an heir of the nonsense tradition, genially assaulting everything that "appears" to be fixed and serious. His poems celebrate surprise and synergy, discovering new forms of order in the riotous disorder of the world. Anarchic pleasures: he makes mischief, running words off their expected tracks until they come to rest in new postures, pleasures, meanings. The book opens in Lorca's New York and ends on the road to John Clare's Essex. Nostalgia for home, for a lost time and place shadow the collection, as does an undertone of grief, corrected by slapstick and sharp wit. The poems are restlessly acquisitive, gathering curiosities like old sideboards and closets crammed full of birds, beasts and fruit, and visited by an unlikely cast of walk-on characters, including Walt Whitman, Dante, Mata Hari and the Pope. "A Little Bit of Bread and No Cheese" is a gallivant through an absurd, abundant world, reminding us of the pleasure and happiness to be drawn even from the most makeshift constructions and in the face of negative emotions.
Jeremy Over was born in Leeds, and grew up there and in Bedford. He studied at Leeds University and now lives with his family in Billericay, Essex. He works in London for the Inland Revenue. He was first published in New Poetries II, (Carcanet, 1999).