Born in Nigeria, educated at Christ’s Hospital and New College, Oxford, Keith Chandler has worked as a school teacher in Liverpool, London and Norfolk. Since being selected for Ten English Poets (Carcanet) in 1977, his poetry has been published in three collections: Kett’s Rebellion (Carcanet 1982), A Passing Trade (1991) and A Different Kind of Smoke (Redbeck, 2001). As well as writing shorter poems, several of which have won prizes in national competitions, Keith Chandler has been concerned to extend the imaginative and formal scope of contemporary poetry; this new collection includes four longer poems which experiment with traditional forms of satire, narrative and dramatic monologue.
“Consistently enjoyable: every poem is adeptly constructed, communicating its idea with force and economy.” Vernon Scannell, The Sunday Telegraph
“A genuine poet, remarkable for his acuteness of observation and unshowy craftsmanship.” George Szirtes, Poetry Review
“His angle on the world is often fresh and funny…equipped with formidable confidence in the face of uncomfortable truths.” Rennie Parker, Critical Survey
“Hilariously satirical, throwing out the home truths in spadefulls, much of A Different Kind of Smoke is so good that it deserves to be read out loud.” Will Daunt, Envoi
“I cannot tell you how much pleasure The English Civil War Part 2 gave me – comic genius!” (on the title poem) Robert Potts, The Poetry Society
“Chandler’s poetic presence is compassionate and searching. There is much to praise here.” David Annwn, The London Magazine
Be kind to Martin Mr Biddle said
Martin is what we call ‘autistic’.
The Little Miss Perfects in Class One
cross-legged on the floor of the gym
in gingham checks, nodded, smirked.
Artistic Martin who looked like a dark
angel – yes, they would be kind to him.
But when they tried to hold his hand
bad Martin wouldn’t look at them,
making bird noises ran straight through
their baby games, their rosy rings.
Martin liked fire engines, electricity
and climbing. Martin liked to turn
lights on off off on. He preferred things
to people. Even Mr Biddle got cross.
That was the day Martin ran off
to where the giant pylon lived
behind our school like a coathanger man
with cones. Come down Martin!
Come down! (but from a world of lost
connections he was already gone)
THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR PART 2
Price £7.95 per copy
Cover Illustration: “A Radical Reformer i.e. A Neck or Nothing Man. Dedicated to the Heads of the Nation.” By George Cruikshank (1819) © Trustees of the British Museum
Publication JANUARY 2009 (92 pages laminated paperback).