June’s Uncut Poets features Damian Furniss, who will be reading from his recent Shearsman collection ‘The Best Of All Possible Worlds’ – an ambitious project that offers a poem for every year of the past century. Those who admired ‘Chocolate Che’, Damian’s previous collection, will recognise a characteristic mixture of the sardonic, the compassionate and the innovative.
The usual hosts, Liz Adams and Alasdair Paterson, will be navigating the evening through the Phoenix’s shape-shifting black hole still known as the Workshop. 10 open mic spots of 5 minutes each are available on a first come, first served basis, and can be booked by contacting Alasdair on FB, by email at email@example.com or by mobile on 07783 734523. When they’re gone they’re gone – even in a black hole. Bar and toilets readily available. Admission £5 (£3 open mic and concessions). See you soon!
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