Adam Lowe


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Peepal Tree Press Ltd
1 June 2023
ISBN: 9781845235598
80 pages

From the publisher

Patterflash embraces the performative, self-ironising aesthetic of campness but, as a mask, it is a complex and very malleable one, capable of showing features of tenderness, bravery, righteous anger and sometimes sadness and alarm - as well as the comedic. Within a collection that displays an engaging variety of language registers, both 'high' and 'low' in tone, the masking sometimes makes use of Polari, the gay street language that simultaneously reveals and conceals, excludes and invites, estranges and makes familiar. The collection connects the poet as a wry, humane observer of the scene, particularly as conducted in Manchester, and the persona of "Adam Lowe" as both actor in and narrator of his own dramas, who performs, exults and sometimes suffers in a wide range of guises and disguises. What unites them is the urge to embrace the possibilities of being exactly who you want to be whatever the complications or consequences of your choice. From the four-year-old boy who, though always easy in his mixedness of race, also wants to wear a blonde woman's wig without any angst of self-contradiction, through the poems delighting in the frank physicality of gay sex, to the mature man experiencing domestic contentment, Adam Lowe takes us on a journey rich in observation and always in a poetry that makes an art of patterflash.