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  • By Andy N
    Jun 21, 2011
    I first met Steve Garside, I guess around the end of 2009 through my guitarist Jeffarama’s first tour under the name off ‘Busking for Beer’ which was a marriage of poetry and music and again at the start of 2010 when he donated some paintings for the Desparately seeking Alex charity night at the Green Room in Manchester that I co-ran. In a lot of ways, Steve’s début book ‘A Million Ways to measure the sun’ is a extension to those paintings with words and are littered with double layers (or allusions in his words if you like) and require several readings. Take for example ‘The Paper Trees‘. Bits like 'Flattering the sound of streams in folds of breeze; the paper trees. Equidistant lines of fifty in a field sunlight geo-divided by their honest bark' This is a beautiful and deep use of language that deserves repeated reading over and over until the language starts to show something very different. Another review I read when researching Steve's book said 'it’s difficult not to... More > become immersed in the deliberate and often precise rhythm and choice of his language or become aware of how it sits perfectly with not just each individual poem’s theme but the book’s overall feeling of inequality throughout life’s various stages' which I totally agree with, but also add the point with Steve's work, at it's best (which is constant throughout this book almost completely) is in it's layering – like all great painters, Steve's words reveal themselves over time. Another interesting example is in 'Our Teacher took photos of us' where on first readings I took the piece to be a sad story about death and the passing of time on for example.. 'before the dark end of teenage /slipped from bullying into heroin' The use of memory here was slight and left tons of gaps for you to fill in yourself... Was the poet himself there or was it a story he heard somewhere maybe recently or a long time ago, and is the back cover of the book linked into this? Steve's work at it's best for me doesn't even give you half of the answers, let alone the questions as above and is a really rewarding read because of that. Recommended.< Less
  • By steve garside
    Apr 22, 2011
    Steve Garside once described himself as ‘a self-taught artist’. He also suggested that he ‘dabbled’ , as it were, with poetry. I was so impressed by his paintings that I made a mental note to concern myself with any of his written work and, as and when it became available, give it a good coat of looking at. Rather like viewing his landscapes – I wanted to quarry through his words and mine into the depths of their allusion – albeit with nothing more than a spade of subjectivity and a pic of personal opinion. Not content with just writing poetry he also performs it out loud - but while Steve’s spoken word is well worth listening to, much of what he has to say fails to make a splash relative in size to its poetic weight and shape -not in those rather shallow and often boisterous waters of performance poetry. To fully appreciate his written work you need to dredge through the silt of its imagery; pot- hole through its semantic fissures; hold it inquisitively toward the daylight - and with... More > ‘A Million Ways to Measure the Sun’ he finally gives us the opportunity to read and absorb his work. Divided into five unequal sections the book begins with ‘Title Track’ and from the very first two-line stanza Tell me more than the moon, or give me more than the sun you begin to find yourself shuffling from a comfortable sitting position and leaning into what it is he has to say and by the time you reach the final stanza, from sunset to sunrise may they bleed, while the moon, size constant; stays silent. it’s difficult not to become immersed in the deliberate and often precise rhythm and choice of his language or become aware of how it sits perfectly with not just each individual poem’s theme but the book’s overall feeling of inequality throughout life’s various stages. ‘Rayaan’ is the book’s first direct statement about that literary stalwart… death. It’s coated in genuine sadness and dusted with a sentiment that’s sincere – which not only adds to the sense of loss but suggests just how personal the subjects are in relation to their author. ‘Domestic’, although a rather ambiguous piece of writing contains some wonderful imagery Shaved potatoes, underwater swollen; pale grenades in the washing-up bowl. which lends weight to a sense of conflict, a feeling of confrontation yet I was left unsure as to whether this situation was personal to the author or to a set of circumstances he may have been privy to? Not that this really matters! The final two line stanza shines a little more light onto the situation but, rather ironically, made the piece that much darker. leave the baby on the backstep my love and let thy mothering commence. ‘Our Teacher Took Photos of Us’ is perhaps an example of poetry at its least pretentious. There is no elaborate language. No fanciful adjectives hanging from the lobes of nouns. Instead, the piece focuses the reader’s attention on a situation. One where at least one adult who attended a comprehensive education can relate to – yet I was a little confused with the poem’s detail – because there is nothing elaborate going on with the language I was distracted with the issue of One taken on the towpath, the other by the school gym; both in black and white This suggests that the author is referring to just two photographs, yet later he writes Cocksure kids; hair needing a cut above the bridge - some he stood on chairs to smile. So, I was a little confused? This confusion was reinforced or perhaps exacerbated by an ending that fails to clarify the object in terms of just who exactly is the victim? If indeed, it’s actually meaning to? Yet I suppose with Steve’s style of writing there are potentially many hidden rooms – and if you attempt to search for these, as a reader, you can often look for a zebra when you should be looking for a horse. But for me, Steve’s writing strength lies in his apparent understanding and appreciation of language and its phonology. On the page his words often slide or roll across the paper. There is very little literary friction unless its needed. Words hardly jarr and are not too difficult to swallow even when they prick with polysyallabillic needles – and I doubt if this is through a consistent, accidental stroke of the pen? In essense, like all good writers, Steve often sketches pictures with his words yet he shows an awareness of the reader’s ability to fill in what he sketches with colours of their own, with regular etchings of ‘show-not-tell’. ‘Portrait’ and ‘The Mills Are Dead’ both have a significance with death. That cycle of human life. The generic concept of cycles, and it’s around this point that the tectonic plates of allusion, understanding and meaning all begin to shift – or at least they did above the lavas of my interpretation... The book is divided into five different sections. These sections represent ‘the stages of life’. Now depending on just who or what you read, these stages of life are fundamentally infancy (or birth) childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age (or death). Many artists have painted allegorical images to represent these stages on the same canvas. Steve attempts it through the sections in his book. Through its themes; through the ages of its subjects; its protagonists; through its victims of age and circumstance, but that’s what makes this book such a pleasurable, cerebral but occasionally frustrating book to fathom, it’s not the author’s thinking behind each and every constituent, clause or allusion, it’s the fact that there is so much to digest. I liken it to getting into a bathtub full of water. Everytime you climb in – something else will usually spill out. Occasionally, it's the odd few suds of poetic influences. I read bubbles of Billy Collins, a froth of Heaney, and an odd lather of Eliot but this is perhaps indicative to just how serious Steve takes his poetry? Steve has been writing and posting his poetry on the electronic pages of Write Out Loud for several years now. Some of which are featured inside this book in amongst over 45 other poems. Where, arguably, just a few of which are superfluous to the book’s combined poetic weight. Each individual poem is well crafted and meaningful when standing alone but when the poems are gathered and read together and they become ‘A Million Ways to Measure the Sun’ you begin to realise that Steve Garside is an exceptional poetry talent. Darren Thomas, Writer, Poet< Less
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Product Details

first edition
March 11, 2011
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.31 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
5.83 wide x 8.26 tall
Product ID
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