We Were Pedestrians
In a return to poetry after his two highly acclaimed novels, "August" and "I'll Go To Bed At Noon", Gerard Woodward has written a wonderfully inventive, witty and moving collection of poetry about the way we try to domesticate the world. In poems full of rooms and houses, where wily nature eludes the instinct to tame, Woodward combines the observing eye of an anthropologist with an exuberant, daring and endlessly playful imagination. There are houses of memory and houses of the future, houses that stand empty and houses crammed with the accumulations of life. From the clothes that house our bodies to the atmosphere that clothes our universe, from the flush of a toilet to the colonisation of Mars, Woodward is always looking at juxtapositions of the unruly and the controlled. Perhaps it is no accident that several of the poems are about coastal places or climate change. The ceaseless erosion of nature is an image of the impossibility of capture, with language the last barrier against decay and disappearance. In 'Norfolk', the pebbles on the beach, the pennies in a slot machine and his young son's wobbly tooth concatenate with enormous pathos as we watch the boy's realisation that life's events do not match his desire. The intimacy and emotion of this and other poems is a new development in Woodward's poetry and makes "We Were Pedestrians" his finest collection yet.