"Groves's style is distinctive, owing something to Larkin, not only in its politically incorrect manner and determination to call a spade a spade, but in a certain incredulousness at human fate."
"When people have asked who they should read in recent British poetry I've said Paul Groves."
This fresh collection contains not only the type of ironic, sly, and coolly witty poems we have come to expect from this writer (the unlikely drama of a 'Convention of Russian Undertakers', the horrors of a party of 'Greenland Literati', two unexpectedly refined fitters in 'Against Stereotype') but also material with quirky turns and melancholic hints, such as the surreal and oddly moving 'Fly in a Hospital' and the elegiac 'Falling off the Chrysler Building'.
Elsewhere he allows himself playful flourishes, as in 'Between Baroque and a Hard Place', a paean to putty. The family, rather than being a source of solace, becomes a venue for humiliation, adultery, sadism, even murder as in 'Strewth', where the annoying spouse is seen off in a deserving manner.
Formally acute, frequently funny, and often provocative, this book will delight existing fans and recruit many new ones.
Paul Groves is a Creative Writing lecturer, and reviews for leading literary periodicals. He has read widely at festivals and worked in schools and colleges for over three decades. Qwerty is his fifth volume of verse, following the critically acclaimed collections Academe (1988), Menage à Trois (1995), Eros and Thanatos (1999), and Wowsers (2002), as well as a memoir, Country Boy. He has been strikingly successful in national and international competitions, and has twice won the prestigious TLS poetry prize.