Hello is the debut collection of poems by Crispin Best, whose unmistakable voice may be the closest we have to a contemporary poetic vernacular.
Behind these poems one senses the presence of a real person, someone who feels pain and delight and finds a way to talk about both. The baby chameleon that turns up at the end of Hello could be the book’s totem animal: a creature whose flamboyance is also its camouflage. For, despite their many heart-rending moments, these poems have fun with masks and voices; they are awash with ventriloquised 90s pop-culture and contemporary media tropes that blur the line between candour and karaoke.
Above all, Crispin captures a feeling of awe at the weird miracle of being alive for a bit, however briefly, in a world in which nothing is more or less important than watching Cool Runnings in the bathtub, or stopping to enjoy the colour of your socks – a world in which ‘if a tree falls in the forest / that’s fine.’