Jack the Stripper by Paul Sutton


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The unadorned language of Jack the Stripper ranges from the bitter comedy of monologues like 'His Story' to the touching pathos of the elegy 'Gone Below' and the vision of lost pastoral in 'Mud and Sun', taking in, en route, a hilarious skit of Arthur Conan Doyle. The speaker in these poems spares no-one - least of all himself - and presents a vision of contemporary life in which "literature had vanished, but the causes grew." In an age of competing orthodoxies, each sure of its rightness, we need what these poems offer; a contrariness, a refusal to say the right thing, a finely-judged deployment of irony and satire. Paul Sutton is an essential poet.- Alan Baker

I'm not sure if any poet evokes the spiritual emptiness, the underlying soul-sapping blandness of life, and the sense of loss (but loss of what?) in contemporary Britain better than Paul Sutton. It's not about diversity, ethnicity, gender orientation, or any of the undeniably important issues that fashion demands the writer address at the moment to the point of predictability; Sutton is a writer who sees beyond fashion to the more difficult matter of how we are in the broadest sense. - Martin Stannard

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