Reading Matt Merritt’s poetry is like watching the world on hi-definition television. It is the world we know, but in sharper focus, making visible the small but significant things we might otherwise overlook. These precise and poised poems are the work of a craftsman with a telling eye for detail: a lover’s new haircut, the smoke of a suburban bonfire, the plumage of a gull. Merritt’s voice is measured and subtle, saying only what it needs to, speaking quietly in your ear. It is a voice worth listening to. Tom Jenks
“The past is startled into a sudden eloquence”. Matt Merritt’s poems are startling. Their voice is quiet, their rhymes discreet, But a loch reveals a submarine; a sky, a sudden bird; a landscape, love. This book’s familiars are birds, about which Matt Merritt writes beautifully. The poems are also brushed by the wings of loss, lit by jokes, eloquent with hope. "Sudden rain now. Liquid miles, but hours yet to harden into day. The way it always is. Remember this." This work is memorable for the best reasons. Without hectoring, it reminds us of what we know. Irresistibly, it opens new horizons. The reader does not want a poem to end, but when it must, the reward is insight, the exact observation which is love. Troy Town is humorous, wise, and clear-eyed. These are poems for grown-ups, to which a reader will return, with pleasure and surprise, again and again. Alison Brackenbury
ONLY A FEW LEFT!!!!
from HappenStance Press
ABOUT MAKING THE MOST OF THE LIGHT
The last time I read any poetry was more than 10 years ago when I was trying to con my future wife into thinking I was sensitive. So I was pleasantly surprised – no, make that amazed – to find myself poring over Making The Most Of The Light, returning to it in quiet moments and even recommending it to friends. It’s good. No, it’s more than good – Leicestershire poet Merritt’s new book is an intelligent and moving read. Making The Most Of The Light is a collection of 27 poems about life, love, lost love, death, girlfriends, insecurities, cricket and the everyday stuff most of us do and take for granted. Merritt’s poems are clever but accessible; his topics are kick-yourself-obvious, yet usually overlooked; his style is honest and full of heart but never pretentious. Smart, then, but not a smart-ass. The book is dedicated to his older sister, Rebecca, who died of cancer when she was just 35. It is also these poems – the routine of the oncology ward, the drugs, the “cortege of faces and eyes that can’t meet”, which hit home the hardest. Making The Most Of The Light could be the best £3 you’ll spend this year. Lee Marlow, Leicester Mercury
It’s probably not every day that most of us pick up a book of poetry to peruse, but a collection by Leicestershire poet Matt Merritt is well worth changing your reading habits for. Making The Most Of The Light, published by HappenStance Press, is a bittersweet mix of the bleak and the humorous – albeit black humour – bringing together a variety of themes from the everyday to the unusual. What’s perhaps most striking about the poems here, though, is the restrained emotion that runs through each of them. Merritt has mastered the art of saying just enough. None of his work overruns or overstates his case. It’s a triumph of subtlety and self-control over raw emotion – poetry with a touch of the English stiff upper lip about it, and much the better for it. In To Be Honest, Merritt’s highlighting of the mundane points of everyday life that often bely our emotions is spot-on, while also beautifully expressive is the very title of Seaside Poem Without Seagulls, plus the imagery it conjures up in its last two lines: “I can see your hall of mirrors smile, / and your eyebrows, an arctic tern taking flight.” Lis Gibbs, Leicester Mercury
I live in Southam, England, and write (and read lots of) poetry. My prose memoir, A Sky Full Of Birds, is out now from Rider Books. My poetry collection, The Elephant Tests, is available from Nine Arches Press. My previous collection, hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica, was published by Nine Arches in 2010. My first collection, Troy Town, was published in March 2008 by Arrowhead Press, and my chapbook, Making The Most Of The Light, was published in 2005 by Happenstance Press.