81 Austerities by Sam Riviere

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If you want to know what new things poetry can do, you'll find this an exhilaratingly authentic way to confront the inauthentic, both in ourselves and in society.
-Guardian

Synopsis

All three-dimensional objects can be experienced in two dimensions: it just takes some careful unpicking of the seams. Witty, comic, plaintive, touching, acerbic, droll, cavalier, caffeinated, irreverent, stringent: Austerities, the mind-altering substantial debut from Sam Riviere, seems to achieve the impossible in being all things at once. Initially conceived as a response to the 'austerity measures' implemented by the coalition government in 2011, the poems quickly began taking on a life in kind: 'cutting' themselves on levels of sentiment, structure and even subject matter. Not content to merely build a series of freethinking poems, these remarkable pieces seem eagerly and mischievously to analyze their moment of creation, then weigh their worth, then consign their excess to the recycling bin thereafter. Experience is speedy, the poems seem to say, so dizzyingly fast that the poetry will inevitably be running to catch up - often arriving at a scene the moment after the moment has gone. The effect is as funny and it is startling, beguiling as it is surprising, and makes Austerities a vivid reminder that deprivation, as Leonard Cohen put it, can be the mother of poetry.
 

About Sam Riviere

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Sam Riviere began to write poetry while at the Norwich School of Art and Design, and completed a Masters at Royal Holloway. His poems have appeared in various publications and competitions since 2005. He co-edits the anthology series Stop Sharpening Your Knives, and is currently working towards a PhD at the University of East Anglia. He was a recipient of a 2009 Eric Gregory Award.
 
Published July 31, 2012 by Faber & Faber. 128 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Guardian

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Reviewed by Ruth Padel on Aug 03 2012

If you want to know what new things poetry can do, you'll find this an exhilaratingly authentic way to confront the inauthentic, both in ourselves and in society.

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