Twenty-Five Poems

eBook (PDF), 32 Pages
(1 Ratings)
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Humphrey Astley was born in Oxford, England in 1982. He is founder and curator of the ongoing exhibition Rain Over Bouville (, from which these twenty-five poems have been selected. This is his first collection. From Black Heart Magazine's review of 'Twenty-Five Poems': "Thank the swirling chaos for Humphrey Astley. His poems are elegant, classical, but certainly not the kinds of things we run screaming from in our English Literature classes. He understands the concepts of rhythm and metre and the manipulation of sounds. In Twenty-Five Poems he conjures up lovely images of moonlight and co-eds and perverts, and none of his poems ever dare to wrap onto a second page. They are precisely contained worlds, and no matter how melancholy, they always stress the sentiment that life is somehow beautiful." (
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  • By I.C.H.
    Oct 15, 2009
    "Finesse." You might want Humphrey to be a sentimental hack like 99% of poets but it never happens; he disappoints the cynic in you as he dazzles you with lovingly lyrical tellings of disappointments, urban daydreams, rakish towny adventures, loveable losses and lost love, lust often (meted out with teaspoons, though, like sugar), and existential ponderings. He has a knack for quite beautiful, terse visions of innocence and the loss of it - the sadness of it, the romance of it, the almost noble, classical eroticism of it. He's great at romance-with-a-backbone. Though not old-fashioned, he has an eye for the lassies like most self-respecting male poets, and he sculpts word-Galateas from what he sees. He's more randy than Pygmalion, though. There is a mythic element here and there in his work, though it's never explicit - he doesn't compose about myths. He mentions them, refers to them, uses them in analogy, so that we seem to glimpse bronzed heroes' muscles through gaps in... More > grey brick walls in industrial neighbourhoods; hear the pounding hooves and wings of a winged horse as we travel on the bus; feel a god's beard underfoot in the pile of a crappy old carpet in an inner-city student flat. He uses words carefully and expertly, in my opinion (not that he's a master yet, either, as he himself would tell you). His words move like fish in water, I think. They have a simplicity and directness, with the odd perfect word placed perfectly here and there to act as clapper ringing the bell of the rest. I'm always amazed by how he seems to purify the city, and use it and all its filth, easily, as stuff to stand on and look at the moon, or as magic glasses or mirrors, through which to view all manner of secret, behind/through-the-scenes, semi-spiritual, almost-mystical goings on. Heavenly-gold and grey roads stand side-by-side, and the pairing never troubles you. This is maybe the crux of Humphrey's talent: he is happy to see mysticism and city-sickness go arm-in-arm together on romantic walks. They mate, and it's a kind of alchemy. Mix in some European existential, intellectual bohemianism, a damn fine humour, and the rakishness of an Oxford lad and you just about have the best characterisation of Humphrey Astley's work I can give you. Iain Hunter 02.07.07< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Humphrey Astley
September 30, 2011
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163.85 KB
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Printable? Yes
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