Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Complete Wayne Carroll Collection of Drunken Text Message Poetry

For nearly ten years, Wayne Carroll has been at the forefront of British poetry, with his prolific output matched only by the accolades he has received from the literary establishment. He burst on to the scene in 1999 with a salvo of hard-hitting works, collected together in the now out-of-print I, Wayne Carroll, I. Ensuing years saw a steady release of individual works into poetry journals and anthologies, and then his blazing 2003 collection, I, Wayne Carroll, II, reignited the public’s interest in the elusive writer’s work. Now, his publishers Cosgrove, Hill and Valence have gathered all his poems together for the first time, in this two-volume set.

As well as the aforementioned works, The Complete Wayne Carroll includes many previously unpublished poems that are sure to please the many Carroll completists out there. Extensive notes and annotations serve to illuminate both the scholar and the casual reader on many facts about the poems. For example, the hitherto unpublished work, Last Night (Red Lion VI) (2005) has two pages of information on why the poem was never sent to any literary journals, despite its obvious merits, which shall be obvious from the following extract:

I saw u last nite in the pub with tht twat
Jules Im sorry I lost it
I shouldntve twatted him

Kudos to C, H and V for locating this valuable work in the history of Carroll’s writing! Such fragility and vulnerability that Wayne shows in these three poignant lines! So different from the angry young man that we see in his most famous work, Fuck U (Fleece & Firkin VIII) (1999):

Don’t care if u dont come back anyway
See if i care
I wasnt even lookin at her tits

The volumes are arranged chronologically, beginning with Carroll’s very first works (which are somewhat weaker than the ones that brought him to the public eye, with the Who Wants a Kebab? Triptych being particularly forgettable). We see his experimentation with haiku around the year 2000, as seen in Missed Taxi (The Royal IX):

Taxi didnt wait
Meet u in the club l8r
Get me a Stella

Then there are the more avant garde elements of his latter works, when Carroll flirted with a more free-form style, such as Sandra (Kelsey’s II), consisting entirely of his ex-girlfriend’s name repeated twenty-three times. Incidentally, the annotated notes for this poem mention that Carroll sent this poem to his then-current girlfriend by mistake, resulting in a severe groin injury.

Wayne Carroll’s drunken text message poetry is one of the most important things to happen to the world of literature since Shakespeare penned his sonnets. This marvellous collection really does bring together a wealth of previously unseen material, and the notes for each work add a multitude of extra layers of appreciation. The addition of Carroll’s personal correspondence gives us even more insight into the world of this brilliant poet; the letters between Carroll and the Scottish band Arab Strap about a possible collaboration (sadly aborted) contain a wealth of mutual admiration, intelligence and profanity.

At slightly less than two thousand pounds, this double volume set is probably beyond the reach of most casual readers, but for appreciators of fine poetry, The Complete Wayne Carroll Collection of Drunken Text Message Poetry is an essential purchase.


Clippy Mat said...

wyne crll rules. wnt 2 C more ov hz txtng/poems.

Anonymous said...

jzus h christ thats funny