Tag Archive: small talk

Orbiting A Rhyming Planet

Last night I went to the cinema to see Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, a black and white movie with a tiny budget which Whedon shot in 12 days at his house with a bunch of his actor friends. If you like Shakespeare comedies, if you like spotting old cast members from Buffy and Firefly, or if you simply want to experience some serious envy at Joss Whedon’s house, this is a movie I would heartily recommend to you.

I do have a point though, poetry fans (As fascinated as I’m sure you are by my thoughts on the week’s movie releases. Next week: Man of Steel– not as good as Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – DISCUSS). No, my poetry-related point comes from one of the lines from Much Ado that stuck with me as I was walking home yesterday evening in the sunshine. Benedick, attempting to write a sonnet for Beatrice, tries out a bunch of dreadful rhymes and then gives it up, complaining “I was not born under a rhyming planet”.

small-talkI’m dreadful at rhyming. My poetry got a whole bunch better when, at the age of ten, I thought I had invented the concept of blank verse. Turns out I hadn’t, of course, but I’ve never been very good at getting my poems to scan and rhyme as I wanted them to. That’s not to say that I don’t love rhyming, though, and it’s with very great pleasure that I’m able to tell you that NLP are shortly to publish a new pamphlet by the fantastic Mr Nic Aubury. If you’ve not come across Nic’s previous pamphlet Small Talk, you really should. Quite apart from the fact that it sold out of four print runs and was named by Sophie Hannah in the Sunday Express as one of her books of the year, it’s just really, really great.

Cold Soup, published by NLP in July, promises more of the same from our favourite part-time pedant and armchair philosopher. In this pamphlet you will witness Adam and Eve contemplating the walk of shame, you will hear about the ire of the 5’8” man, but you will also read something of the simply beauty in every day family life, all delivered to you in verses that rhyme and scan in a way that will make you want to read them out loud to your nearest and dearest.

our-friendsIn other NLP-related news, I’m really excited to tell you about an upcoming show written, performed and co-produced by NLP poet and playwright Alex Gwyther. Our Friends, The Enemy is Alex’s debut solo show combining theatre and spoken word to capture the events surrounding the Christmas truce from the First World War. Using a mixture of diary entries and third person narrative, Alex takes on the persona of James Boyce, a young soldier from Surrey who experiences the truce first-hand and takes the audience on a magical, haunting journey through the events surrounding the first Christmas of World War One.

Alex with be performing Our Friends, The Enemy in Edinburgh from August 2nd – 24th at theSpace UK @ Surgeon’s Hall, before taking it on tour in December. Find out more here.

Cold Soup by Nic Aubury is available for pre-order here, and Alex’s Nasty Little Intro #4 can be found here on the NLP website.

Reviewed by a Sphinx

sphinxYou know how when you hear someone saying something really nice about someone you know? You’re at a party and you hear people talking about a friend of yours and they say “She’s the one who baked that cake over there that basically made me weep with joy”, or “Have you seen his illustrations? They’re incredibly good. You should check out his blog”, and you feel like running up to those people and saying “I KNOW! Aren’t they GREAT?!” but you don’t, because you don’t want to appear weird? Anyone else know that feeling?

I get that a lot working for NLP, and it happened again just this evening when I read these reviews of Nic Aubury’s Small Talk from Sphinx. I don’t want to spoil it all for you, as it’s a great read, but here are a couple of highlights:

Whether Aubury is setting his sights on relationships, technology, or the experience of being a poet, his spirited use of rhyme lights up the page. I found his images, coupled with simple lines made weighty with emotional intelligence, very moving. Read aloud, his poems contain a kind of devil-may-care joy. It is infectious.

Aubury pinpoints the humour and pathos in everyday life with precise rhyme, and can also offer images that resonate with the reader.

I tell the waiter ‘Fine’
when really what I’m thinking it
‘I’m fairly sure it’s wine.’

It’s the kind of perfectly constructed observation you’ll want to be able to remember and breezily quote next time you’re in that situation. And this pamphlet is full of them.


If those reviews have whetted your appetite for a bit of poetry and you haven’t yet bought Small Talk, it and a whole bevvy of poetical beauties are available here on the NLP website. Come have a browse…

Until next time, poetry fans!