“Playing Solitaire for Money” is a collection of lyric poems, which are contemporary in form and subject. It’s roughly split into three types of poems. The first third are poems about our globalised experience – seeing us as small parts in “a colossal machine”, bit part players in the complexities of modern society. The poems take our everyday experiences and distil them into somewhat surreal, but always truthful scenarios. The middle poems in the collection are more personal – observations on modern life, or ruminations on cinema or fiction. The last few poems are more playful – stepping out into the hidden landscapes on the edge of the city, or conjuring up scenes of middle-class absurdity. Yet there is nothing mundane in these poems. A cup of coffee in a high street chain is a chance to imagine the “impossible narratives” of the “coffee girl” serving the author; getting lost in a maze becomes a question about poetry’s use of metaphor; and, in the poem from which the title line comes, a person’s internal manias become a real life “monster”, that sits on it’s own, “playing solitaire for money.” These two dozen poems are never slight, and always repay re-reading, almost metaphysical in their warping of our recognisable realities.
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