Acrobats of Sound
November 2016. 92 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-56-5
£10.50 (+ 2.00 p&p), €13.00 (+ 2.50 p&p), US$ 16.00 (+ 3.00 p&p)
“Colin Pink’s lyric poems are quietly spoken and beautifully made. This is an unassuming, life-affirming poetry. The poems go on long after they’re done, a product of the poet’s mastery of old and invented forms, of rhythm and rhyme and line, and his refusal of artifice in thought and language, his commitment to the democratic spirituality of everyday speech. These are quiet, hard-won poems, mature and youthful at once, in which one life, its secrets kept, its inner life said, becomes all our lives. You'll find here reflections on how childhood walks along inside one’s adult days, honest and urgent meditations on solitude and myth and city places, on art and on life as a recursive, Sisyphean work of art.”
“Colin Pink’s love of language and sound clearly shine through in this collection. There is a certain delicacy in his writing. His poetry is best read slowly and meditatively. Pink goes beyond the obvious and shows us what most people don’t see in day-to-day life.”
“These are poems that tightrope walk between the New York School and a more traditional English mode. Here, nature is barbwire, and paintings, monuments, and myths, are renewed. The language is exact, clever, and always on the Panther Prowl. A fine collection from a poet worth tumbling for.”
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Table of Contents
Excerpts from Acrobats of Sound
Another Day, Another Pawn Ticket
How the words bubble up, a logorrhoea,
like the frantic song of the skylarks,
out of control, spilling from the mouth,
tumbling together, heedless of art.
Such ecstatic music the Maenad’s chanted
words to tear us limb from limb. We yield
but always stumble from the wreckage
then hitch a lift to another battlefield.
Miles Davis blows a smoky melody,
his trumpet becomes as soft and pliant
as a lover’s lips wed to his for this brief
abandonment of original silence.
Some words are strong, some are weak,
yet bruises blossom beneath their touch.
Mapless, without direction, I ask myself
how we could have forgotten so much.
Pick-up moments, scattered pennies,
I want to place in the jar of memory
saved for some future time, a down-
payment on a long sought harmony.
Tear off a page from the calendar;
each leaf becomes, it would seem,
a pawn ticket to another moment
I’ll never have the wealth to redeem.
Composed on a Traffic Island
Standing on a traffic island, becalmed in mid-stream,
I’m surrounded by the pulsing waves of the Strand.
The siren’s cacophony did not lure me onto this seam
but all the same, here I am, drowning on dry land.
Taxis swoop on pedestrians, like birds of prey;
their black plumage signals the price in this town
is higher than you think. At side-streets each day
traffic snarls at my heels, eager to run me down.
The CCTV’s grainy evidence records the pace
I run my errands and hurry from place to place;
what’s done and left undone both without grace.
Now I stand, shipwrecked on this reef, can I seek
the calm that lies beneath, hear the soul speak,
and find myself buried within the working week?
Reviews of Acrobats of Sound
"One of Pink’s strengths is his ability to develop an arresting image into a wider metaphor and open the poem out into a philosophic observation, his is the poetry of both image and thought, an ability to move from the concrete to the abstract. His poetry only occasionally uses end rhymes, his preferred way of shaping a poem is through stanza length, meter, and a deft use of internal rhyme and assonance. Though images are vivid his verse does not feel lyrical or rhapsodic, pace is steady, poems build steadily delivering an observation that is always worth sharing. This gives his work a feeling of integrity, a poet you can trust, a poet who is gently sharing observations on the strangeness and wonder of things.[...] Acrobats of Sound, a handsomely published book by Poetry Salzburg, reward the reader with accessible, thoughtful, beautiful and engaging poems. Reading Pink’s poems is like being with a friend who delights in opening your eyes to the mysteries of the world around you. His counterbalance of deep thought and vivid image has a European feel to it, a philosophical thread running through his poetic oeuvre. I look forward to his next volume."
"Acrobats of Sound is a fitting title to a collection that requires its reader to make significant leaps - thematic, geographical, and temporal - between each poem. When opening Pink's new volume, one must be prepared to open 'Pandora's Box' as myths, fairy tales, canonical poets, filmmakers, and artists all erupt out of his white pages. [...] More often than not, his almost Medieval imitatio of Leonardos and Picassos gives the reader an image-based accoutrement to each verse. [...] Pink's acute use of language and visual sensibilities merge art criticism and poetic creation. Pink says in verse what Herbert Read wrote of the painter in The Tenth Muse: Essays in Criticism (1957) when he described Rembrandt as possessing "a universal spirit" that "informs everything that he painted" so that "all stand as symbols of an all-embracing sympathy". [...] Acrobats of Sound is a 'Pandora's Box' of poetic experimentation."
"Colin Pink is a poet and an art historian. In his first collection, Acrobats of Sound, he has married his two professions into an unique celebration of sight and sound. Wait. That makes Pink’s work sound almost pompous, and nothing could be farther from the truth. He writes, and speaks with a light touch, an economy of words and a visual lushness that belies his brevity. His toolbox contains no end of sounds, no shortage of stops and goes, he can slide, he can pivot, he can pause to gaze. There is intelligence in Pink’s work, and striving to do more than simply react. Paradoxically, this creates more accessible work, taking the reader into the heart of each poem."
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