Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
Roddy Lumsden was one of Britain's liveliest and most inventive poets of recent times. From the formal, frenetic debut Yeah Yeah Yeah, through the playful wit and cynicism of The Book of Love, to the ‘magnificent song to himself’ of Roddy Lumsden is Dead, this retrospective of his earlier work shows how his poetic journey was eventful, fuelled by his fascination with the intrigues of men and women and the short steps from real life to folklore to the surreal.
Mischief Night brought together the best work from Roddy Lumsden’s three previous collections, as well as a whole new collection, The Drowning Man. It also contains poems from his pamphlet The Bubble Bride and the previously uncollected sonnet sequence Cavoli Riscaldati. It was followed by four later collections.
‘Sharp, bright and utterly heartbreaking, this collection by one of the most intriguing voices is alternatingly roguish, curmudgeonly, insecure, and tender. The speaker woos and teases, cajoles and repels, withdrawing before beginning again. Though the poems offer no utopian promise, no deliverance, they cut to the quick with the difficult truth of longing, need, and the “salt of hopelessness”.’ – Monique Tschofen, New Delta Review
‘There are tremendous narrative poems, mysterious, lingering ones…and unforgettably realistic tales of melancholy sexual encounters…Lumsden is a brilliant vivisector and pathologist of the contemporary relationship…all we can ask for in poetry: contemplation, intelligence, stylistic beauty. Like a spreadsheet of a morality adventure, like perfectly articulated pain…a helpless celebration of Life’s adventures.’ – Alan Warner, Scotsman