Author(s): Simon Armitage
Simon Armitage's new collection brings news from unusual places, whether from the recent past (an island being born off the coast of Iceland, the 'Women of Merrie England' coffee houses of the poet's Huddersfield youth) or from the remote warrior worlds of the "Bayeux Tapestry", the "Odyssey" and "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Other poems belong to a future that is extinct before it arrives, or that is a small and sinister step away from the would-be solidities of our present. But what "Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid" engages with above all is the matter of England, here and now. The poet's preoccupation with utopias and new republics, with visions and intimations, is in the service of a sharpened focus upon this island - 'here at the Empire's end' - just as his evolutionary concerns lock into a heightened sense of where we now stand, in the company of animals (birds, sloths, horses), and where we part company to give rein to the beast within. "Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid" is Simon Armitage's wittiest, most alertly combative and impassioned collection to date.