Category Archives: Shearsman
Published September 2015. Paperback, 132pp, 9 x 6ins
ISBN 9781848614444 [Download a sample PDF from this volume here.]
101 poems about power and its consequences, one for each year from the beginning of the Great War to the present day, together making a history of the past century.
All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
“Damian Furniss’ The Best of All Possible Worlds is as encyclopaedic as it is eclectic, cataloguing the passions and peccadilloes of dictators from Stalin to President Assad, while taking a long and unflinching look at the last hundred years’ history of bloodshed and loss. These are poems of great formal flexibility and tonal range; from the rough and ready, scatological romp of ‘The Black and Tans’ to the tanka-like transparency of ‘Blooming Time’, the poems veer between die-hard cynicism and deep compassion. Furniss ably registers both our prurient fascination with bodily remains (‘Rasputin’s Penis’) and our more haunted reckonings with the dead (‘The Unreturned’). The book’s interest in often-ludicrous performances of masculinity and its frequent mordant humour make this a hectic charivari-ride through the past hundred years; but these poems ask serious questions about humanity’s appetite for blood, and the place of poetry within this self-destructing world. ere will be a poem about Stalin’s poster of Dumbo, as well as a love-song to Putin’s man-boobs… and there will also be a poem in which a poem fails to stop an atom bomb. Welcome to The Best of All Possible Worlds; Furniss is an unforgettable guide.” —Fiona Benson
“Minutely researched and meticulously crafted, Damian Furniss gives us the big figures of the last century, men and women we thought we knew, exquisitely present in chilling detail. Amongst those you wish you’d met and those you’re glad you didn’t, there is treachery, torment and sometimes inexplicable tenderness. This is a remarkable achievement from an intelligent poet at the top of his game.” —Ann Gray
Uncut Poets: Julie Sampson and Alwyn Marriage on Thursday January 30th at 7.30pm in the Exeter Phoenix Black Box
Springing from their winter torpor, the management of Uncut Poets are looking forward to throwing open the doors of the Black Box and discovering what colour it’s going to be this year. Our guests on January 30th will be Julie Sampson, whose first collection ‘Tessitura’ has just come out from Shearsman, and Alwyn Marriage, whose ‘festo’ is the latest of her several widely-admired books. Julie, who grew up in mid-Devon, now lives in Taunton; as well as writing poetry, she has researched and published on Devon women writers and the imagist poet HD. Alwyn is Managing Editor of Oversteps Books; last year she was Poet in Residence at the Winchester 10 Day Festival,
and took part in the prestigious post-AGM reading at the Poetry Society.
Alasdair Paterson and Gemma Green continue as hosts/ keepers of the peace. There will be the usual number of Open Mic spots, one of which can be reserved (if you’re quick) by contacting Gemma on 07855 809394. Admission is £5 (£3 concessions and open mic). There’s a bar, I believe.