Planet 228

Jonathan Edwards reviews
Sofa Surfin
by Mike Jenkins and
Bring the Rising Home!
by Mike Jenkins with paintings by Gustavius Payne

Sofa Surfin

Parthian, £8.99

When looking through canon-building anthologies such as Parthian’s Poetry 1900–2000, one might be struck by the comparative lack of significant vernacular verse from Wales during this period. Lloyd Robson has of course written brilliantly in the language of the streets, but it is hard to name the Welsh writer with the reputation of Scotland’s Tom Leonard, or the ability to set vernacular writing on a facing page to work in the highest literary voice, in the way that Don Paterson does. Where is the Welsh writer with the demotic energy of Tom Paulin or Alan Gillis? All of this is odd, when one thinks of the distinctiveness and beauty of our voices, the centrality of that undulating lilt to our lives, relationships, and personalities.

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