Paper Aeroplane

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       October 12, 2014


Author  Simon Armitage

ISBN:                 9780571310678
Publisher:         Faber
Release Date:    


Billed as the ‘best poet of his generation’ for his contemporary and confrontational style, Armitage’s work certainly grabs attention. His use of the English language to portray in so few words stark images is outstanding.

 Paper Aeroplanes is a collection of selected works from his many other works and as such has been carefully compartmentalized into the date or release order commencing with his debut anthology Zoom published in 1989. In the following years he has produced prolifically using descriptive narrative to travel many genres from Xanadu (1992) to Homer’s Odyssey (Translated)released in 2006 completing the selection with yet unpublished works from The Unaccompanied due out in 2015.

As a commentary on the modern society the work is without parallel, digging deep into all aspects of the world we live in and have created.

The Catch brings in so few words the joy of making a catch on a smouldering summer’s day. You feel the heat of the day rising up, the physical effort involved, and the satisfaction of a task complete.

Far more poignant is The Shout which touches on the subject of suicide by remembering when they were in the school yard, how they tested the range of the human voice, how they lost touch and then learning of his death come twenty years later. So few words, so much said!

Verse dramas told with style, flair and flourish regardless of the subject matter which ranges from an Goalkeeper with a Cigarette, which immediately challenges the mind, to a slightly shorter offering in Beyond Huddersfield, which on first read, appears to be one thing but upon reflection is something entirely different; a social commentary on exactly what, is something that will and should be individual to each reader; Such is the power of poetry and prose.

The collection ends with a rather quirky little piece in ‘Paper Aeroplane’ which is a rather fitting conclusion to what, in so many of the pieces could be considered as a collection of works looking only at the darker side of life.

But as with all works of this style you will find what you will interpret within the words.