Split Screen
By Andy Jackson


"Launched recently at StAnza, Split Screen is a complilation about past and present media icons. Edited by Scottish poet Andy Jackson, the white pages of the anthology serve as a television screen and each side presents the actors linked by similar roles or shows, such as the pairing of Star Trek captains Kirk and Picard. The media history roughly spans the entertainment of Generation X'ers, commencing with the stop-motion children's television show Camberwick Green and continuing with The Sound of Music, Blade Runner, James Bond, Star Wars and Mission Impossible. Whereas some poems can be pallid descriptions of the actor's antics, others contain a multi-layered vision. Jo Bell's poem Tom and Jerry describes the jokey frolics of a brown mouse whose 'head [is] as big as a cherry'. Colin Will's Yoda is composed in the creature's philosophical but garbled speech, resulting in these clever fragments: 'Whence we came, thereto shall we all/ back go. Time backward runs'. Kevin Cadwallender's channels Illya Kuryakin from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in bold, funny quips: 'Not every man you meet will be/ Capable of communicating via a pen, /Not every man you meet will /Protect you from Thrush.' A uniquely-themed anthology that is both historical and inventive."

- Theresa Munoz, Scottish Review of Books


"...Poems like these can make us think differently about both mediums, screen and verse, which is surely the aim of any sort of ekphrasis. Split Screen will appeal to the fans of the films and shows, but it should also appeal to fans of poetry who want to see how modern poets are responding to what are pervasive, undeniable, but conventionally un-poetic aspects of modern life. Some poets are braver in this than others; some offer excellent but more conventional pieces; a few are too hesitant and uncertain which way to go. This anthology showcases a variety of approaches with their pros and their cons, which is perhaps the best recipe for encouraging more poets to explore the fruitful exchange between verse and screen."

- Tess Somervell, Tower Poetry


"Featuring a lively mix of well-established names jostling elbows with some newer voices, Split Screen brings together a host of British poets inspired to write about pop culture icons from film and TV.

"Published by the independent and quirky Red Squirrel Press, we're treated to an unsettling impression of HAL 9000 by Simon Barraclough, a clever recreation of Yoda's mixed-up syntax by Colin Will and a sonnet on the Godfather himself from Luke Wright.

"Other nice surprises include Clare Pollard delivering a personal, sad account of her father watching Bruce Lee films and a grim but affectionate take on the Hammer horror franchise from Tim Wells.

"From the world of TV, subjects range from the childhood nostalgia of the Clangers and Flash Gordon to the more adult reminiscences of Emma Peel. Only the most avid of viewers will get all the references on display but the poems are strong and entertaining enough to carry the reader past any of their cultural blind spots.

"The book's split into three sections separated by "commercial breaks" - short poems by rising stars drawing inspiration from the masses of adverts to have entered popular consciousness.

"The classic girl-eating-a-Flake-in-the-bath ad does not escape Ian Parks's attention, Adam Horovitz mulls over his Orange future and Tiffany Anne Tondut slickly merges Keats and the aspirational language of women's hair products.

"Editor Andy Jackson has skilfully produced an accessible, fun collection that will appeal widely. More like this please."

- Jody Porter, Morning Star


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