Waterloo Press

John Goodby
uncaged sea

ISBN  1-902-731-39-5

John Goodby’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and publications, among them Angel Exhaust, the Independent, Poetry Introduction 8, Poetry London, Poetry Wales and The Warwick Review, and has won prizes in the Arvon/Observer, Keats-Shelley Memorial Association and Cardiff International poetry competitions.

His collection A Birmingham Yank (Arc, 1998) was described by Sean O’Brien in Stand as ‘read[ing] like a chowder of names laced with methedrine … at once lush and abrasive, Goodby’s music can at moments be as orotund as Stevens and as abrupt as Les Murray.’ The artistic director of the Swansea-based experimental poetry performance group Boiled String, John Goodby is the author of translations of Heinrich Heine and the Algerian poet Adel Guèmar,and of critical studies of Irish poetry and Dylan Thomas.

He teaches at the English Department at the University of Swansea.

As readers of his restlessly inventive poetry know, John Goodby’s distinctive intelligence asserts itself in unexpected, self-effacing ways—through other voices, formal games and in the case of uncaged sea a faithful and yet mischievous (you might say faithfully subversive) immersion in another poet’s words. What he produces by his close attention and responsiveness to the stray energies of language is an engaging, addictive performance, whether enacted in sound and spoken word on stage or in the imaginative ‘translation’ of that experience to print. The version laid out on the page is a performance of another kind, with the same teasing/enticing effect of continuity and discontinuity in a carefully unstable balance—giving the reader space both to think and enjoy, a sense of joining in the game.
Philip Gross

Immigrant (fox-skin cap/embroidered cloak) scholiast (Susan Howe). A cloak of rags and patches showing a lost text by glimpses. Recurring segments of spine around which lines whirl without fastening. A moth’s wing pattern through which the lost and beloved object is recovered. A sheer glow on which signal multiplies like bacteria on fruit.
Andrew Duncan

John Goodby’s remarkably sustained uncaged sea whips you up into a state where you want to ‘smother the sweet haggard in the glass’. What can one say of such a ‘tusked ramshackling’ work? All I could say after reading it was: ‘like dramatic sea I have been a ball of lakes.’ A prodigious unconscionable downright desperate poem!
John Hartley Williams

Dylan Thomas was always near the edge. The reworkings by John Goodby and Boiled String show just how close. This is Thomas thrust into the post-modern maelstrom, pulled by process, mashed by manipulation and riveted by rearrangement. Down here in the micro-memes that Goodby uncovers are some twenty-first century rockets set-off unknowingly by Wales’ best-known twentieth century master.
Peter Finch


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