Jack Ross, ed.: Spin 42 (March 2002)
Mark Pirie, Reading the Will. Christchurch: Sudden Valley Press, 2002. 107pp. RRP $19.95. ISBN 0-9582091-3-8.
Mark Pirie: Reading the Will (2002)
Again I refer you backwards, to page 47, where you can read two poems from this collection of mostly light verse (sorry, this collection whose “contents … define themselves on the borders of light verse in epigrammatic wit and intensity,” as the blurb has it. Why not just say light verse? There’s no shame in the term that I can see.) Pirie has a sharp tongue, and a good sense of timing – there’s something horribly true about that “I’m hurr ... furr ... the poetree ...” – and one could easily multiply examples of similar hitting the nail on the head: “The Myth Killer,” “On Baxterisms,” or “School Days at Wellington College,” to name a few. It’s risky territory, of course, which guarantees tripping over one’s tongue from time to time: “A Good Set” seems a bit crass, but “Good Looks” on the previous page works very well, I think. All in all, you have to admire the author’s guts in attempting to give voice to a kind of Kiwi blokedom while simultaneously keeping his intelligence intact. It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to make this a very worthwhile and enjoyable exercise.