Every poem in Matthew Caley’s Apparently begins – or occasionally ends – with the word ‘apparently’. In conversation this word usually precedes a scurrilous piece of gossip or hearsay, allowing the speaker to voice what cannot be substantiated, for in our increasingly mediated world, what is "apparent" often has more authority than "what actually is".
From this instantly split beginning, a poem might extol glaciers and cult post-punk singers, mishear W.B. Yeats, get drunk, argue with Roman consuls, empathise with Roadrunner, crash several vehicles, chronicle a parallel Proust, or watch Jon Snow lose his equilibrium. There are odes to dead flies, obscure Western actors, Louis Zukofsky and the pancreas. Or are there?
It’s not that the poems are about these things so much as that these things get caught up in each poem's need to be. Through this can be glimpsed the self fighting the self, desire and darker intimations. Against any notion of "poetic truth" these poems luxuriate in the fabulous lie. Apparently.
'You have to dig this new book by Matthew Caley. At last, somebody with intelligence, wit and a vocabulary who can crack open a cultural canapé and lay out its extravagance for us with our noses pressed to the glass. Apparently this is what's going on inside. Dig these quadrilles and superficies. Face values with added values. A book to delight and amaze long after you've fallen off the chaise longue.' – John Hartley Williams (on Apparently)
'One tour-de-force is welcome in a collection, there may be a dozen in this one. Formally outrageous, culturally light-fingered, Caley’s vision and wit make for poems that turn a wondrous, great lamp on the inter-relatedness of all things. Caley is a rare beast, an important poet yet to be discovered by his true readership, which is to say everyone. Read this encomium of delights and be glad' – John Stammers (on The Scene of My Former Triumph)
'From the first page to the last the book crackles with linguistic inventiveness – an attempt to capture the fractured, disorientating quality of 21st century life. Again and again as I devoured The Scene of My Former Triumph I found myself scratching my head and wondering why such an assured and inventive writer is not better known – hilarious and heartbreaking' – Mark Guinness, Magma
Matthew Caley (Apparently)
Matthew Caley reads his poem 'For Howard Devoto' from his new Bloodaxe collection Apparently. This video is from the launch reading of Identity Parade, Roddy Lumsden's anthology of new British and Irish poets, at Foyles Bookshop, London, on 24 March 2010.