Roddy Lumsden’s Terrific Melancholy is a book of changes, physical and emotional. It begins with a diverse sequence on that most dubious and folkloric of changes, rebirth into a new life, exploring our history’s advances – changeless, changeful. Meanwhile, in the lengthy title-poem, an actor’s reluctant crush on a younger colleague leads him to look back on life from middle age, while the poet himself does the same during travels in the USA.
This is Lumsden’s sixth collection and it also contains a miscellany of new poems which display the writer’s acclaimed inventiveness with form and structure and his breadth of approaches: satire, listing, praise poems and a new form, the ‘ripple poem’, which develops the use of ‘fuzzy’ rhyme.
‘There is a level of talent that will ransom any project in any school. On the one hand, it will be interesting to see where Lumsden goes next; on the other, he’s so good that it hardly matters’ – D.H. Tracy, Poetry.
‘One of the best poets writing in English on the planet today’ – Don Share, Squandermania.
‘Although the verse is hopping with linguistic antics, the foci of the language are music and rhetoric and, whip-smart as these poems are, they tend to resist chin-stroking analysis…the rhymes, the larks, the brutal punch-lines tug Lumsden’s poems off the page and into the living context they describe' – Matthew Smith, Verse.