The blood choir

Liardet, T (2006) The blood choir. Seren, Bridgend. ISBN 9781854114143

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Tim Liardet’s masterly collection, The Blood Choir, will surprise readers with its dramatic subject matter: teaching poetry in prison. An acutely observed incident is recalled and given a multitude of perspectives, each perspective resounding with an emotional corollary – sometimes fear, often sympathy. The vision is dark, but not without humour. There is a playful inventiveness and an adroit irony, often at the author’s expense. As well as the work inspired by the prison there are digressions: several pieces stem from the foot and mouth outbreak.

Item Type: Book

Thirty eight poems which arise from the year I spent teaching in the second largest Young Offenders' prison in Europe. Teaching in prison, particularly that carried out during residencies, often strives towards a notion of 'rescue' and rehabilitation. The Blood Choir, however, is more concerned with the squandering of youthful energy that the prison solution seems to represent, and focuses in particular upon the way in which that energy becomes distorted by prolonged imprisonment. It is interested in the collective rather than the redeemed individual, though it does attempt intimacy with individuals. Each poem focuses, in minute detail, on a certain aspect of imprisonment: recidivism, ennui, psychosis, bullying, drug abuse. Again, there is an ekphrastic element to the book, drawing on Goya's vision of the mob-moving-as-one-beast and, through of the 'dehumanising' aspects of the Futurist influence. The Blood Choir is the first book to focus exclusively on prison since Ken Smith's Wormwood in 1987; it draws attention to how much more serious the problem of the prisons has become during the past twenty years.

Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 20:31
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