by John Redmond - £9.99 Carcanet Press Ltd (2016)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781784102043 | ISBN 10: 1784102040
In The Alexandra Sequence John Redmond views contemporary urban life through the suggestive prism of the ‘mummers play’, a seasonal British folk-theatre staged in the streets and door-to-door. The book’s title takes its name from an area of Liverpool, a city shaped by its recent history of trade and migration, still recovering after a long period of decline. Experiences of urban uprootedness and social precarity shape suburban livelihoods that are ‘livid with accident’.
Drawing on the two central themes of the mummers play – combat and resurrection – the poems reveal both dark and light parallels between the modern neighbourhood and medieval theatre: the carnivalesque zombie-drummers marching through a local park find their mirror-image in the daily disguises of life in a housing estate, or in the masked infractions of the 2011 England Riots.
Mixing narrative and lyric, Redmond paints a neighbourhood of lively, unlikely references, from Juvenal to Tommy Cooper, Brueghel to indie rock.
(Price & availability last checked: August 2016)