Get the beach bod that you deserve. 10 new foods that will make you thin. The secret to working out without exercise. Hair to die for! The makeup that will make you unrecognisable! Any of these floating your boat dear reader? Do they sound oddly familiar at all? Are they believable? Would you spend a couple of pound in order to discover the secrets that have been kept from the world? Many of us are guilty of falling into the sleek, shiny trap of a harmless magazine purchase, completely and utterly harmless…
Today I am on the blog tour for Death Magazine (Published By Salt Publishing 15th Jun 2019) By Matthew Haigh. A big thank you to Isabelle from Fly On The Wall Press for my copy to review, always appreciated.
About The Author
Matthew Haigh is a poet, artist and designer from Cardiff. He is a regular contributor to anthologies by Sidekick Books most recently collaborating with friend and artist Alex Stevens on Battalion and No, Robot, No! They also collaborated on the Tumblr series This Was No Suicide a reimagining of Murder, She Wrote episodes produced using cut-up poetry and collage. He published a pamphlet, Black Jam, with Broken Sleep Books in 2019.
Death Magazine is a neutropian vision of our soundbite, snippet-obsessed, digital and print magazine culture. It employs the Dadaist technique of cut-up to produce poems that range from the blackly comic to the surreal, from the nonsensical to the prescient.
Many of the poems confine themselves to the precise aesthetics of magazine columns, doing away with line breaks entirely to find new meaning in their Modernist forms. Added to the mix are a range of free verse poems more traditional in form. This monster hybrid of styles, of fact and fiction, aims to replicate the untrustworthy, hyperbolic stream of media that absorbs our lives every day.
This radical work creates a futuristic landscape of human emotion as product a pink, shattered diamond refracting our chaotic times.
With an intriguing cover already pulling me in, I had no idea how intense this reading experience would be. And WOW. Blimey. It’s SO good dear reader. So good!
The poems are categorised into themes with headings similar to the contents of a magazine; beauty, lifestyle, advice, topics we’re all familiar with. This theme has a dominating presence throughout the collection. We often organise our life into sections and label them with appropriate headings. However quite often we find this is a ruse. Like most magazines it’s all a lie, fake news and gossip. But we continue to purchase our copies in hopes that one day, the lie will become true. Prepare to dive into some explicit poetry.
Upon reading the FITNESS section, I noticed that the poems were all named after famous actors such as Brad Pitt and Will Smith. Each one mentioned the strain and stress that their bodies underwent when preparing for a role. They all used dangerous ways to get in shape and yet it is still treated as fitness. Haigh used parts from articles found in Men’s Health to concoct these poems. It’s mind-boggling why these unhealthy regimes would be advertised, let alone in a men’s health magazine. And that’s the sheer brilliance of it dear reader. Haigh has used this very ironic stance to highlight his themes and context boldly in his poetry. That the world and its residents are hypocrites. We are all guilty of it, yet we continue to deny it. Human nature is a strange one isn’t it? Haigh makes you question a lot about the world we live in.
Haigh uses not only striking and thought provoking imagery in his poetry but he presents the harsh reality of what we have become. Consumption has drained our energy and strength forcing us to remain weak and dependent on our material world. In Treating Depression with H.R. Giger a painting is mentioned and described in graphic detail. The painting is titled O’Bannon’s Alien D2 and leaves a disturbing realisation of our weaknesses. Seriously dear readers, if you haven’t seen this painting, check it out. It will leave you with chills. H.R. Giger was a fantastic artist that captured humans and machines embraced together in a cold bio-mechanical relationship. He also brought us the haunting imagery that we all know and love from the Alien films. Haigh’s homage of this ongoing theme in his poetry is hypnotic to read.
There is a painting by H. R. Giger, in which a creature’s coils
are kissed to comatose lips. I think this figure is us – socked out
cold, the hallucinogen of living fuming through our blood.
Extract from Treating Depression with H.R. Giger
It was not surprising to discover that all of the poems from the BEAUTY section had been mixed together from blog posts found on the Goop website. One look at their website and you are led to believe that this is a clean, professional place to send out wellness. Haigh not only shows the reader, but asks them: What is beauty? Is it waking up in the morning and downing a glass of hate or smearing lotions and potions all over our bodies in hopes to erase our time upon earth? There is so much to learn from these poems that we have only begun to dent the surface.
To be honest, our whole lives are unnecessary. The fabric of life is thick silver, fruitless. The person you love has a 100 percent chance of embarking on a kitchen renovation project. We think of death as the heart of the home.
Extract from A Luxurious Death
I give Death Magazine By Matthew Haigh a Five out of Five paw rating.
These poems are beyond mesmerising. With themes of pop culture, sci-fi and our never-ending greed to consume, there is a lot to indulge in here. Haigh has not only picked up that dusty neglected snow globe sitting on the fire place and given it a shake. He has smashed it to pieces, emptied out all the glitter, handcrafted figures and fake snow before constructing a new, more accurate version of our world. And my word dear reader, will it leave you lost for words…
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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