by Alan Morrison
191 pages/31 poems, inclusive of the 19-page eponymous long poem.
Smokestack Books, 2017
To Order: http://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=133
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Taking its title from the brown envelopes that strike fear into benefit-claimants and the
biblical "Rapture', Alan Morrison's eighth collection imagines these letters as passports
to a twisted Tory notion of salvation through benefit sanction. Tan Raptures is a series
of verse-missives from the frontline of the war against the poor and its spirit-stripping
weapons of food banks, poor doors and homeless spikes. It's a people's history, from Dale
Farm and the firebombing of the Freedom Bookshop to Troika-shackled Athens, featuring the
Bryant & May Matchgirls, the International Brigades, the Runnymede Diggers, Los Indignados,
Gerrard Winstanley, Joe Hill, Wal Hannington, Conrad Noël and Christopher Caudwell. The
title poem is a Catholic Socialist polemic in opposition to self-proclaimed 'Roman Catholic'
Iain Duncan Smith's despotic six year grip at the DWP.
'Tan Raptures is a brilliant collection — I've really found it inspiring. It smashes hard
on the nail of the historical moment and brings out the discourses of the past that lead
Andy Willoughby, author of Between Stations (Smokestack Books)
"…an original, serious and radical poet… Alan Morrison is one of our best young poets
and most energetic poet activists. Tan Raptures is his most ambitious book yet, as well as
the most directly political.'
Andy Croft, the Morning Star
'Imagery is Morrison's strength. In the title sequence we have 'That August, attitudes
hardened like tarred arteries, and austerity/Throttled the wilting trees', to set the scene
for the political demonisations and bureaucratic cruelties he enumerates. Images like this
energise the poems, and give a context to the sometimes obsessive detail. …These are breath-
less poems… passionate, wide-ranging, unashamedly fighting for the disenfranchised, in a
time when the fight could hardly be more urgent. Perhaps it doesn't matter how you classify…
this extraordinary, intense, much-needed poet'
Ruth Valentine, London Grip
'Alan Morrison is rare among his generation on the current British poetry scene; he's a
provocative poet whose commitment to socialism is passionate. Yet Morrison is not simply
a "political" poet in the narrow sense, he can be lyrical, humorous and inventive. I hope
he will be as widely and appreciatively read as he deserves.'
'In the poetry of Alan Morrison we are witnessing the development not just of a storyteller
but of a history-teller. British realpolitik and the resistance to it are weighed on the
scales. History is both dream and nightmare, and Morrison's long-lined mini-epics cultivate
the dream and pummel the nightmare, channelling the class war with real commitment and artistry'
Niall McDevitt, author of Porterloo (International Times)
'Morrison has very clearly given long, hard thought to every line of his very, very substantial
text. Here we have Marx's "congealed labour", where the poet does justice to his subject: condensed,
not a wasted word, every rift loaded with ore. Morrison reads history with a sympathetic eye,
looking out for comradely parallels across the generations. I love both the content and the form
of Tan Raptures. Morrison's prosody is beautifully right, the weight and rhythm of the syllables
falling where they should, with no stumbling, as in so many other poets' attempts at "free verse'.
They are maybe "blank", as in "blank verse", but with patterning of assonances from start to finish,
and other heightenings of language. As well as loving this book, I find it profoundly moving. The
closing "Benedictions" had me sobbing at the kitchen table. Even now, writing this, I find myself
so tearful I cannot see straight.'
David Betteridge, author of Slave Songs and Symphonies (Culture Matters, 2016)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alan Morrison's poetry collections include The Mansion Gardens (Paula Brown, 2006),
A Tapestry of Absent Sitters (Waterloo Press, 2009), Keir Hardie Street (Smokestack
Books, 2010), Captive Dragons/The Shadow Thorns (Waterloo, 2012), Blaze a Vanishing/
The Tall Skies (Waterloo, 2013), and Shadows Waltz Haltingly (Lapwing, Belfast, 2015).
He edited the two anti-austerity anthologies, Emergency Verse – Poetry in Defence of
the Welfare State (Caparison, 2010/11) and The Robin Hood Book – Verse Versus Austerity
(Caparison, 2011/12). He is founding editor of The Recusant and Militant Thistles. An
epic polemical poem, Odour of Devon Violet (www.odourofdevonviolet.com, 2014-), is still
in progress. His poetry has been awarded grants from the Arts Council, the Royal Literary
Fund and the Society of Authors.
FROM THE BOOK:
A Sample Poem
Olvido Verde — Olives Bleed Green