Occasional verse, said
Goethe, is the ‘highest kind’ of poetry. For Hegel, the relationship between
poetry and the world was ‘revealed most fully’ in pièces d'occasion
or gelegenheitsgedichte. George Jowett
is certainly an occasional poet. He only
writes occasionally, he has published his work on only a few occasions (this is
his first full-length collection) and he is happiest when writing about the
ritual occasions of love, middle-age, sex and death. Using metrically precise,
traditional verse forms including ottava rima, Pushkin sonnets and the Burns
stanza, The Gyspy and the Candy Floss
addresses an unsolved 1970s murder mystery and the rise and fall of a
1980s Teesside boxing legend, royal divorces, Milton, Larkin, pantomimes and funerals.
Occasionally very good indeed.