Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, also writes lively poetry full of vivid vocabulary. His first collection is The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, a 60-page book with a spinning wheel in the front cover.
I can not claim to understand everything that going on in the poems, but the images are arresting. I was particularly struck by the start and the end of "The Seventh Circle." It begins thus:
Another werewolf night, the trees spastic
with wind and the dogs uneasy on their chains.
Three trolls wrestle with a bloody scrap
that will not die, the taverns roar and glitter
on the greasy quay and the Scissorman
chases the dragon ...
At the end of the poem, someone will be waiting for you (yes, you) at the bottom of a frozen lake. It makes my hair stand on end.
Not all the poems are quite so fantastic. I like the advice from "A Rough Guide":
Be polite at the reception desk.
Not all the knives are in the museum.
The waitress knows that a nice boy
is formed in the same way as a deckchair.
Pay for the beer and send flowers.
It seems like good advice to share at a high school graduation.
Like many music CDs, it seems the best pieces are clustered near the beginning. I enjoyed "Go, Little Bok," "After a Beheading," "Trees," and "Nuns." The nuns are like crows flocking and observing a village.
I hope Haddon writes more poems. For now, I recommend more libraries add The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea.
Haddon, Mark. The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea. New York: Vintage Books, 2005. ISBN 0307275698