Trawlerman’s Turquoise, Matthew Caley’s sixth collection, features various seemingly recherchéelements – telepathy, Madame Blavatsky, epistolary novels, muse worship, Balzac’s coffee addiction and Thomas Merton’s accidental electrocution amongst them – not always as straightforward ‘subject matter’, but caught up in the backdraft of the poems’ acceleration.
The book’s title derives from the long, central, hyper-associative poem, ‘from The Foldings’ –trawlerman’s turquoise being a phrase to describe a psychic glimpse of the ocean for perennial inner-city dwellers, who have only ever heard rumour of one.
Caley’s lyrics and love poems are poised between sincerity and its inverse, and a seeming ‘parallel world’, which gradually emerges, sits at odds with, and sheds light on, the current state of our actual world – full of melting borders, random dangers, shifting identities, misread communiqués, false reports and information overload – destabilising and exhilarating in equal measure.
From the reviews of Rake:
‘… the technical resources deployed remain consistently highly coloured and deft in execution. A tanka-derived syllabic structure for stanzas predominates, but a multitude of other forms are used with intelligent grace…I know that it is the verve of Caley’s writing I will be re-reading.’ – Ian McEwen, Magma
‘Decidedly indecorous, Caley's vocabulary pricks his readers to keep the action anachronistic and contemporary… the book is a Waste Land of sorts, punctuated with Pound-like fragments…carefully [meticulously] crafted.’ – Edwina Attlee, The Poetry Review
‘… a series of densely written love poems in which the reader is aware of something strange and beautiful (and perhaps a little dishonest) going on behind the scenes… It is this sense of play that makes the poems so striking, as well as the tightly reigned undertones of kitsch… Rake seems to have created a brow of its own, colloquial enough to keep you reading, yet complex enough to keep you uncomfortable…the reader is aware of something strange and beautiful.’ – Emma Hammond, Poetry London
'Formally outrageous, culturally light-fingered, Caley’s vision and wit make for poems that turn a wondrous, great lamp on the inter-relatedness of all things. An important poet.’ – John Stammers