Not a Moment Too Soon

Frank Kuppner


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Carcanet Press Ltd
25 April 2024
ISBN: 9781800173989
144 pages

From the publisher

Frank Kuppner's new (eleventh) book consists of three long, hilarious, philosophical, existential sequences, 'The Liberating Vertigo of a Final Passage of Meaning', 'Not Quite the Greatest Story Never Told' and 'Not Quite a False Fresh Start Either'. Those 'not quites' are a keynote – what might have been and what actually is, the gap between being the space of the poem, its ironies, humour and wry heartbreak. The poems in the sequences are short, reminding us of his first book, A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty, where short 'orientalising' forms were first perfected. 216 poems through the second sequence, he interrupts himself with, '[I have almost said enough.]' But that's just short of the half of it.

'Points weaved together / to make myself' – these are the points of each poem, haiku or tanka or something else, the weave being uneven and richly suggestive. Words fill out unexpectedly, the ubiquitous Stars become Sta[i]rs. His subject matter is what lies beyond the window of his rented rooms. The world is an erotic and philosophical minefield. He is rather too fitful and feverish to relish it for what it is, what it might be or even what it might have been.