presents a selection of entries from
an encyclopaedia written entirely by poets. The material, assembled by Sean
Ashton into categories such as Fruit & Vegetables, Birdsong and Musical
Instruments, offers insights into a range of themes: the precise timbre of a
lapwing’s call, the heroic modesty of the double bass, the correct way to eat a
peach. There are also answers to pertinent questions.
What is it that makes hairdressers so special? Why is neon the noblest of
gases? Could rugby be improved with the addition of a harpsichord? In his capacity as chief editor, Ashton deploys poetry
as an applied art, abandoning the lyric voice for a collective register.
Somewhere between the private fancy of the individual and the strictures of the
social is a forest of stranger truths. Few are stranger or more truthful than Sampler