‘Postcards to Ma’

By Stannard. You can read a much better on-line review from Loydell. I only like the first and last postcards, except for the line beginning all but the first poem “Crack of dawn swam in / ” (which is then followed by “ocean Frolicked on sand Sent postcard to Ma”), and not in the last poem. Perhaps it raises expectations too high with its simplicity, as all but the first and last poem etc. seem composed of meaninglessness. The 11 pages of poetry are then followed by 5 empty pages and a picture of someone (not Stannard!) with a walking stick.

I find it difficult to stomach in places. Postcards remind me of mail art (though Stannard seems unconcerned with the poetry underground) and conceptual art works in general. I suppose it’s post language poetry, because I think he asserts that the poems mean only their words and what they say; there’s nothing else it could be about.

I suppose I would quite like to read it as post conceptual poetry (I just mean where we are after conceptual poetry), in which case it might be an slightly incoherent allegory on his kitsch precedents and subsequents (“Arrived safely… returning home to Ma”, starts and ends the chapbook), which I find satisfying – i.e. useful to how I felt – but doesn’t help me enjoy the rest of it. I have read next to nothing about that.

Alternatively, read it to enjoy the humour / seriousness of it.