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Physical by Andrew McMillan
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Physical

by Andrew McMillan

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I picked this up a few times in the bookshop before getting round to buying it, as the dips in didn't really grab me, but I'm really glad I eventually read it -- this really is a collection that hangs together as a whole, with repeating themes and style throughout, one to immerse yourself in.

The main theme is fresh boundless new ground -- the male body -- which has perhaps been awaiting a poet of this sensitivity to tackle it. The style is also fresh and unique, using spacing in place of punctuation. The effect of this is subtle but strong -- even when reading in your head you find yourself breathing to the pattern of the words, bringing you into the work physically -- how entirely appropriate to the subject matter!

In a year of strong poetry debuts in the UK, this stands out and well deserves the critic acclaim and prize nominations it has received. ( )
  rrmmff2000 | Dec 21, 2015 |
Things have changed for men this last decade or so.

I'm not just talking about the, "new man," that surfaced in the media pushing prams or staying at home while the wife went to work, either.

The stereotypical strong man caring for the weak woman is shuffling out the door, as the world wakes up to the truth that women aren't weak, and men can't stay strong twenty four, seven. We're all human beings, you know. According to Murderpedia (http://murderpedia.org/) they have 1 female serial/mass murder listed for every 6 men.

Men are re-evaluating themselves in our societies. Japanese men are shunning marriage because married men just don't look happy. In America there is MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) as the law and society is biased towards women; so they say, "Why play the game when the deck is stacked against us?"

Men can be tender. They can love, care, feel, empathise, etc.; the difference now is that more men are starting to stick the middle finger up to society and not hide the deeper emotions any more. Basically, what started happening for women a hundred years ago, is now starting to gather pace for men; a social redefinition.

And that's what attracted me to this book of poetry.

I was looking for an insight in to the emotions otherwise forbidden ... however, I couldn't find the key. I couldn't connect with the words.

I got a glimpse here and there, like looking in to a thick fog and catching a glance at the odd bright flash of light; but just as suddenly as it appeared to me, it was gone again and I lost my way once more.

Not a fulfilling read. Maybe it never really offered what I was hoping to find. I don't know, and I likely never will. ( )
  msknight | Aug 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0224102133, Paperback)

An extraordinary debut from a 26-year-old poet.
     Raw and urgent, these poems are hymns to the male body -- to male friendship and male love -- muscular, sometimes shocking, but always deeply moving. We are witness here to an almost religious celebration of the flesh: a flesh vital with the vulnerability of love and loss, to desire and its departure. In an extraordinary blend of McMillan's own colloquial Yorkshire rhythms with a sinewy, Metaphysical music and Thom Gunn's torque and speed -- 'your kiss was deep enough to stand in' -- the poems in this first collection confront what it is to be a man and interrogate the very idea of masculinity. This is poetry where every instance of human connection, from the casual encounter to the intimate relationship, becomes redeemable and revelatory. There is, at the end of everything, a sense of hope. 
     Dispensing with conventional punctuation, the poet is attentive and alert to the quality of breathing, giving the work an extraordinary sense of being vividly poised and present -- drawing lines that are deft, lyrical and perfectly pitched from a world of urban dereliction. An elegant stylist and unfashionably honest poet, McMillan believes that 'writing something down/keeps it alive', and his eye and ear are tuned, exactly, to both the mechanics of the body and the miracles of the heart.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 14 Aug 2015 11:57:16 -0400)

Shortlisted for the 2015 Forward Prize for Best First Collection Longlisted for the 2015 Guardian First Book Award Raw and urgent, these poems are hymns to the male body âe" to male friendship and male love âe" muscular, sometimes shocking, but always deeply moving. We are witness here to an almost religious celebration of the flesh: a flesh vital with the vulnerability of love and loss, to desire and its departure. In an extraordinary blend of McMillanâe(tm)s own colloquial Yorkshire rhythms with a sinewy, Metaphysical music and Thom Gunnâe(tm)s torque and speed âe" âe~your kiss was deep enough to stand inâe(tm) âe" the poems in this first collection confront what it is to be a man and interrogate the very idea of masculinity. This is poetry where every instance of human connection, from the casual encounter to the intimate relationship, becomes redeemable and revelatory. Dispensing with conventional punctuation, the poet is attentive and alert to the quality of breathing, giving the work an extraordinary sense of being vividly poised and present âe" drawing lines that are deft, lyrical and perfectly pitched from a world of urban dereliction. An elegant stylist and unfashionably honest poet, McMillanâe(tm)s eye and ear are tuned, exactly, to both the mechanics of the body and the miracles of the heart.… (more)

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