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The Talking Horse And the Sad Girl And the Village Under the Sea: Poems [Paperback]

Mark Haddon
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book by Haddon, Mark

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3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... July 14 2012
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Perhaps the fact that a book of poetry followed Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" came as a surprise to his fans. However, the gifts so admired in Haddon's prose also come through in his poems: the humanity of his voices, the dark humour, the considerable seriousness and the surreal invention. "The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea" combines bittersweet love-lyrics, lucid and bold new versions of Horace, comic set-pieces, lullabies, wry postmodern shenanigans and an entire John Buchan novel condensed to five pages. Indeed, this collection confirms Haddon as one of the most outrageous and freewheeling imaginations at work in contemporary literature.

A shame, then, that the first poem, 'Go, Litel Bok', contains the first sounding of a staccato rhythmical clunkiness that mars so many of the subsequent poems: 'The fire I have felt beneath your shirts. These cloisters./Red mullet with honey. This surprisingly large/slab of Perspex. Your hands are on me. But this man/is another man.' Such short phrases and sentences spread like an infection through the volume; this mangling of end-stopped lines does not read like poetry.

Additionally, an air of knowingness hangs over the book. Allusiveness remains undigested and becomes a forum for showing off, never an assimilated thought process driving the motor of poetry. Various poets stalk Haddon's poems but, instead of singing in the unmistakably characteristic voices that they do, Haddon seems to be feeling his way still towards a tonal stability that he can make all his own.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Aug. 1 2006
By Robert Meador - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time-- truly a wonderful, moving, and powerful novel. I also love poetry, so I was psyched to check out this book. Unfortuantely, I was deeply disappointed. The poems aren't especially bad, just not very good. They kind of meander along without saying too much that's very interesting and without offering any particular finesse with language. A couple are slightly smarmy self-referential poems about poetry and poets, which is usually not a good sign from a first book of poems. There were some occasional pleasures. I really liked this one called New Year's Day: "I walk on powdered/shell for three miles/to the spur's blunt head/where, each year,/something of the ocean/slows and falls/and turns into a yard of land,/and something of the emptiness/we spin through/silts and settles/so that we can walk/a little further/out into the fog." Not bad, but that's about as good as it gets, and there aren't many like that. It's really not bad, just kind of mediocre, which is disappointing after the remarkable job he did with his novel. If you're interested, I think the best thing to do is go to a bookstore and read a few of the poems before you buy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars different kind of work if you are a fan June 27 2013
By Melanie betz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
did you ever think you could feel all those emotions mark haddon likes to put you through in such a small span of time? he does it with these concise little poems..

get this collection of poems if you are a fan of mark haddon
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As witty and charming as his novel Aug. 1 2006
By Catherine Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book because I loved his novel and because I love poetry. I was not dissappointed. The book is lovely to look at for starters. The poems made me smile and think, rather than wonder what the poet meant.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poems? Feb. 5 2009
By Violet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I fell in love with this author's book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, but this was disappointing. Haddon should stick with writing novels. It was good for him to try a different writing style, but his naturl talent lies in setting up an entire plotline and placing himself in characters' mindsets.
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