Trawlerman’s Turquoise, Matthew Caley’s sixth collection, features various seemingly recherchéelements – telepathy, Madame Blavatsky, epistolary novels, muse worship, Balzac’s coffee addiction and Thomas Merton’s accidental electrocution amongst them – not always as straightforward ‘subject matter’, but caught up in the backdraft of the poems’ acceleration.
The book’s title derives from the long, central, hyper-associative poem, ‘from The Foldings’ –trawlerman’s turquoise being a phrase to describe a psychic glimpse of the ocean for perennial inner-city dwellers, who have only ever heard rumour of one.
Caley’s lyrics and love poems are poised between sincerity and its inverse, and a seeming ‘parallel world’, which gradually emerges, sits at odds with, and sheds light on, the current state of our actual world – full of melting borders, random dangers, shifting identities, misread communiqués, false reports and information overload – destabilising and exhilarating in equal measure.
From the reviews of Rake:
‘… the technical resources deployed remain consistently highly coloured and deft in execution. A tanka-derived syllabic structure for stanzas predominates, but a multitude of other forms are used with intelligent grace…I know that it is the verve of Caley’s writing I will be re-reading.’ – Ian McEwen, Magma
‘Decidedly indecorous, Caley's vocabulary pricks his readers to keep the action anachronistic and contemporary… the book is a Waste Land of sorts, punctuated with Pound-like fragments…carefully [meticulously] crafted.’ – Edwina Attlee, The Poetry Review