John-Paul Burns
The Minute & The Train
May 2019. 30 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-70-1
£6.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), €6.00 (+ 1.50 p&p), US$8.50 (+ 2.50 p&p)
“The poems in The Minute & The Train are well-made, wide-ranging and wonderfully attentive to inner and outer realities. Whatever the setting – corner shop, café, pub, cemetery, railway station, road at night or shared house – John-Paul Burns makes it vivid, surprising and memorable. It "will remain" with you long after you've peeled it and consumed it, just like the fruit in "A Tangerine Being Drawn".”
Michael Laskey

“The speakers in these poems are often out of sight, looking outward at landscape, objects or people while using clear-eyed and precise descriptions to find meaning in the world around them. Each poem is driven by this restless, searching gaze, leaving the reader with the realisation that looking out can also be a way of looking in.”
Kim Moore

“Here is poetry that defies glib classification. John-Paul Burns lets his rich imagination play with mastery of form and a wide world of subject matter always rooted in the business of living, of feeling, of seeing. Enigmatic shades of MacNeice blend with the conversational tones of Larkin to produce work that shines "like lakes at night". Everyday experiences are given a delightfully abstract, but never pretentious, complexity. The combined result is the "absolute making of a dance". An exciting and genuinely original voice.”
Keith Hutson

Order copies of The Minute & The Train via PayPal

copy/copies (GBP)

copy/copies (EUR)

copy/copies (USD)

Table of Contents

Excerpts from The Minute & The Train

A Pear

The pear is on the table
half-lit in a deep gold light;
a rehearsal of its flavour
at the stroke of nine.

It is wholly a bulb of shyness
dressed up like a word with a smell;
a paper bag with everything
that happened written all over it

and what’s next, translucent
as usual, in the air; as if
each hour hit the flesh
and left a crater or a flush

of red; it waits for the hand
that will hold it, give it
its pear shape, bite into
its sweet and dripping self.

Staring at the Dust, Sunrise

It floats above me, a fleck of thought
Dancing along the heat of the bed
As light as my eyes are heavy
In the static blue-grey of the hour

I just want sleep as thick as cream
My plans fall away before they begin
As if I can taste those above me
Trickling down through the floors

Someone orders a late Thai, an erotic yes, a pogo stick
I can hear the card-details humming through the air
On the clock I can see a fuzzy shape
Like five to four and excrement goes down the drain

Some hives, some years, make no honey
Some flats have dust that draws circles in the air
As if it could find a flower
And dawn paints streaks of champagne across the wall

I'd rather it didn't, but it does
And the dust bursts into a flake of gold
A pin on the map of the snowy ceiling
I'd rather it didn't, but it does

Reviews of The Minute & The Train

"I very much like the confident way the poet uses the white space on the page [...], but only where its effect is important. In other poems the lines are left justified in the conventional way. As far as subject matter goes, Burns is particularly good at capturing the world of bedsits, shared flats and houses. I get the feeling that the poet in him longs for solitude, while the young man with a sense of humour can enjoy company, parties, drunkenness.[...] I absolutely loved ‘That’s Beautiful, Thelonius’ with its brilliant imitation of jazz-like rhythm in the form, language and half rhymes. It is one of the best poems about music I have come across [...]. This stunning debut deserves to be widely read. Here is a new voice and one to watch."

Carole Bromley. "Two recent Pamphlets from Poetry Salzburg". The High Window (July 2019).
Click here to read the full review.

"The Minute & The Train [...] has a refreshing sense of adventure, delightful imagery and a serious playfulness. The influence of Louis MacNeice, amongst others, is present - no bad thing - but John-Paul Burns is no slave: he has allowed, through deep reading, a history of fulfilling and pleasingly enigmatic poetry to act as a fillip for his own explorations and development. I see this pamphlet as the calling card from a new, exciting, thoughtful and entertaining writer."

Keith Hutson. "Featured Title". The North 63 (January 2020): 76-77.

Read more about John-Paul Burns

Send an e-mail to order this book