The Stations of the Day is receiving good reviews—our sincere congratulations to Michael W. Thomas.
Michael W. Thomas, The Stations of the Day
Written by Crossroads Published 28th October 2019
ISBN 978-1-910322-97-0 64pp, paperback, gloss covers £7.00
Publication date: October 2019
In this, his tenth title, Michael W. Thomas again justifies Alison Brackenbury’s commendation of his work:
‘His poems are rich with the details of past and present lives. They explore the wildest possibilities of those lives with passion and humour.’
The Stations of the Day is in fact a book of mini-collections, with titles as diverse as ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Where Nothing’s Asked Or Thieved’ and ‘Motley Futures.’ Within these and others, using a striking variety of forms and voices, Thomas’s poetry ranges back and forth in time, place and emotion. Here we find the English Black Country when it was still industrial; there we find Feste from Twelfth Night, who confides what Shakespeare did not record. Now we have nature and peace in our grasp at a country crossroads on Christmas Day; now we land on College Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as drivers and wanderers chart their routes from one station of the day to the next. Elsewhere, children of the future laugh like drains at the yammer-drug that is social media in our time; while one small boy, confined to a barber’s chair at the end of autumn 1960, senses time’s flow and wonders what on earth it can possibly lead to. In this, among Thomas’s speakers and characters, he is far from alone.
Arresting in language, sharp in perspective, The Stations of the Day invites and rewards reading and reading again.
‘Michael W. Thomas’s poetry shows a real sense of exploration and discrimination of fine states of feeling…. Thomas cuts away all dead weight, creating a sense of economy with richness, and is not afraid of using a phrase that in a lesser craftsman’s hands would bring a sneer…. His language is vigorous and street-wise and his poetic tools work on experience in Coleridgean mode, dissolving, diffusing, dissipating in order to create a surprising world.’
–Peter de Ville, Poetry Salzburg Review.
October 25, 2019 by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs
Merryn Williams casts an eye over a new collection by Michael W Thomas
The Stations of the Day Michael W. Thomas Black Pear Press ISBN 978-1-910322-97-0 64 pp £7
Although this is a very recent collection, the sequence ‘When you were Young’ takes us back to the 1960s, a Catholic upbringing, and school English lessons where children were taught about skylarks, foreign fields and the Charge of the Light Brigade. That’s what a whole generation thought poetry was. It doesn’t appeal to Michael Thomas, whose work is distinctively modern. To demonstrate this I can’t do better than quote the whole of ‘Harbours Hill’, with its shock opening:
One day I shall return to Harbours Hill and die. On its only street cambered, gritted the colour of headache, against the fall of January stars I shall let my eyes roll back to see what my mind makes of the last quaint shuffle of life …. having looked in the window of the village’s one shop, how it gathers little marvels of winter light on stuff it never sells …. having walked the greenish length of the path beside the unattended church to see the berries drowse in their blood between the railing-spikes…. having stood in the church itself In case the breathing dust should work loose a word from a long-immured prayer. On the only street at the mouth of the path I shall set like a tumbler, my bones brewing a forward roll so when it comes I fold soundlessly, ball up where the railings meet scarps of moss. Mulch to mulch preserved a while as a randomness of sockets till the grasses of spring fill my eyes, lush over the whitened nooks in which a passenger spirit might once have bided its time.
This is a powerful poem which speaks, if I understand it rightly, about the loss of religion and a deadly boring childhood.
In the last but one section, ‘Endpapers’, Thomas contemplates, ‘the slowing of your blood’. ‘Time’s clock’ ‘flips back to zero’. We’re all getting older, and the future may be frightening, but the poet can still derive pleasure from the sight of a child being pushed in a buggy.
There are several very melancholy poems here, but Thomas is actually an amusing writer, and concludes with a sequence, ‘Feste Packs’ which gives a new slant on the cast of Twelfth Night.
If you’d like a copy of your own, follow this link.