'We needed coffee but we'd got ourselves convinced that the later we left it the better it would taste, and, as the country grew flatter and the roads became quiet and dusk began to colour the sky, you could guess from the way we returned the radio and unfolded the map or commented on the view that the tang of determination had overtaken our thoughts, and when, fidgety and untalkative but almost home, we drew up outside the all-night restaurant, it felt like we might just stay in the car, listening to the engine and the gentle sound of the wind'. From its title, which runs to 101 words in full, to its wordless concrete poems; from its World Cup fixture list to its transformations of four-letter words, "We needed coffee but..." is audacious, mischievous, even outrageous. As in his award-winning first collection "The Book of Matthew", the poet attends precisely to each detail: the rhythms are musical but unexpected; the brightness control on imagery is turned up high. New in this book is the emphasis on collaboration. Some of this work began in text pieces for art exhibitions or as song-cycle lyrics.Other poems respond to the influences of Gertrude Stein, Raymond Queneau, Inger Christensen, dom silvester houedard, Yoko Ono and Gyorgy Ligeti.
Matthew Welton turns rigorous control into a dancing display of wit: we become his collaborators in the shared delight that inventive poetry can contrive.
Matthew Welton was born in Nottingham in 1969 and lives in Manchester.His poetry has appeared in the anthologies First Pressings (Faber) and New Poetries II (Carcanet). He received the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for The Book of Matthew (Carcanet, 2003), which was a Guardian Book of the Year. He was a Hawthornden Fellow in 2004. Matthew collaborates regularly with the composer Larry Goves, with whom he was awarded a Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship in 2008. He lectures in creative writing at the University of Bolton.
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