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The Back and the Front of It

Authors: Connie Bensley

Published by Bloodaxe Books

ISBN: 9781852245184

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Connie Bensley's poems are sharply satirical, often poking fun at social pretence and suburban pretension. They present a comedy of manners in which mismatched characters are bounced between love, death and disappointment. The Back and the Front of It gives both sides of the argument, the dashed hopes of one, the false expectations of the other.

Narrators of these poems are various: a young woman whose boyfriend insists on living in a noisy city; a patient in a sanatorium in the 1950s; a woman undressing her ex-lover's effigy in a waxworks; Napoleon; and perhaps sometimes the poet herself.

"She is a deft satirist and mistress of characterisation... Rich experience of life mixed with a sharp intelligence is the recipe for her satirical sense and darker observations."
Sarah Wardle, Poetry Review

"If Alan Ayckbourn wrote poetry instead of plays, he would sound something like Connie Bensley... like Ayckbourn she has the comic's knack of placing a lot of weight on thin-shouldered words, words blurred by common currency which are suddenly brought into sharp focus and don't really want to be. Beyond the laughs there's great poignancy."
Adam Thorpe, Observer

"Bensley is in fact a serious poet, dealing with serious matters. Beneath a deceptively light surface lie love, betrayal, loss, loneliness, fear, death. Her great strength is her unpretentiousness, her self-mockery, her refusal to be portentous."
R.V. Bailey, Envoi

"Someone who can write with panache about the insouciant pleasure given by a new bra and the coital habits of camels is worth reading."
Helen Dunmore, Poetry Review
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