Without consulting recent acclaim, even Sean O'Brien's reputedly incisive preface,
I found Redpath good company, unfailingly himself and asking only the same of you.
A poet who shows 'how it turned out' by making
... a case
For ways of being we already know,
Already love or fear...
Philosophy, moods of landscape, breakfast, or a sitdown pee with a cat nestling on
your pyjamas make up 'These extraordinary everydays'. A child's gesture grows into
a disturbing fable. He can read volumes into patterns of lace curtains, adopt a stance
and shake its validity. Even masquerades hide masks, as in Information about Love:
He'll never realise
When madam whispers love you, more than half
The chances are she's talking to herself
And simply trying feelings on for size.
We're asked to face what we've noticed but daren't articulate, not morbidly, but
with acceptance. He omits no absurdity, but reminds us with typical generosity that
it's ' a dark world, yes, but brimming'. Even 'Cornered' and 'Story Time', anecdotes
about bores, admit his own peccadilloes. Techniques apart, I hope this qualifies
rumours of another Larkin. Try 'Marked Changes', about being in hospital, alongside
Larkin’s 'The Building'; 'Lunar' (the moon's questioning say) with the literary and
sardonic 'Sad Steps' of Larkin.
Sometimes Redpath's mastery of 'artifice' and many styles risks the impression
of being too subservient to tapestries. There's odd diction: 'could-have-been-otherness',
'insouciant' ( about an idle bricky!), 'uneuphoniked'( a brass band that's packed
up). Reminiscences of war and travel are loosely conversational. But I applaud The
Rialto and its collaborators for a timely tribute to well-made poetry, 'mainstream'
because it's faithfully provincial. A reminder, if you'll forgive Alexander Pope
for being apparently 'un-p/c', that: