Jonathan Pinnock, Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff – BOOK REVIEW #4
When it comes to cynicism, we used to be disciples of Conan O’Brien: cynicism was our least favorite quality. But that was until we read Jonathan Pinnock’s Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff. We have to remind here that Gareth E. Rees recently started our conversion, but Jonathan truly finished it as soon as we put the book down.
This sudden and instant attraction for cynicism totally justifies the fact that we’re reviewing a 2017 book at the dawn of 2020. Three years is not much for a revelation of that kind. It’s still time to join the club.
Jonathan Pinnock, Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff, our review:
These poems are dangerously funny and entertaining
One can’t remain impervious to the humor contained in the forty poems composing the book. From absurd situations and locations to cynical verbal sparkles, there’s an inevitable physiological tension growing as the readers goes on with his reading. This effect is reinforced by the fact that the first sparkles come from the first poem (a meta piece), quite unannounced as such. From this first surprise, the effect is controlled and sustained, to the extent that the attentive reader will detect the intelligent (and highly consented) manipulation from the start.
Of course, laughter is a pretext to produce a greater impact and induce further reflection.
She said I didn’t fit her theme,
So she found another lover,
His name was William,
But he called himself BILLY.
– excerpt from “Love and Loss, Swedish Style”.
These poems are scarily true and clever
Funny doesn’t necessarily mean lightweight, and Love and Loss and Other Important Stuff illustrates this perfectly. Jonathan Pinnock writes about situations (fictious or not) that we can all relate too, and there resides the power of his poetry. Do not expect to find snobbish turns of phrases, or te be required to have extensive knowledge of the world’s misery to understand what it’s all about. Miserabilism is not the key there.
Failed mariages, mistreated love, incongruous deaths, the act of giving up, the vicissitudes of life: all these poems have bits of us within them, and stay with us thanks to this proximity.
‘So what do you do?’ she said, eventually.
‘I’m a philosopher,’ he said, in a tired, old voice.
‘I look at the world and try to understand how
it works, so we can use that information to lead
‘Oh,’ said the girl. ‘I did that once.
Didn’t like it.’”
– excerpt from “The Orange Girl and the Philosopher”.
Jonathan Pinnock is the author of MRS DARCY VERSUS THE ALIENS (Proxima Books, 2011), which occasionally gets included in lists of things that should never have been done to Jane Austen, the Scott Prize-winning short story collection DOT DASH (Salt, 2012) and the bio-historic-musicological-memoir thing TAKE IT COOL (Two Ravens Press, 2014). His stories and poems have won a few prizes and have been read on BBC Radio 4, among other cool places. He is Founder of the online poetry magazine SPILLING COCOA OVER MARTIN AMIS (www.spillingcocoa.com).