I know too much (and yet, too little) about Josh to write a review of his first collection of poetry, Thought Disorder. Though I will write a little about my reading of it here. I told my mum about his book and out emerged the competitive mother. She skimmed through to a page and spotted an Americanism, scoffed and criticised him. I told her he was really smart. She said so am I. I told her his girlfriend designed the cover. She said I could do better. I told her some of the things I knew of him. She changed her mind. And here, where it says Elliott, that’s his son. She didn’t bother reading anymore. But then, neither did I, I wanted to wait until I had a nice section of time to sit with it.
When reading Josh’s poetry collection, it’s a bit like reading about song lyrics about the famous to find out about their lives instead of reading gossip magazines. However, I don’t know much more than what I started with; Josh has eyes and his room is an ashtray. And he’s shit-hot at this poetry lark.
The opening poem, Exposure, is not his best but it lures you in enough to make you want to read more, and introduces you to the collection thematically. I’m trying to avoid any pretension here, and just say bits I liked, so I think it was a good poem to start with; there is clear imagery, and I like the use of the viewfinder.
I love the way Josh uses similes and metaphors and this strength starts to show by the second poem, with ‘fill your sugar bowl with rubber shavings,’ and ‘I built this cabin out of explanation’ the italics seeming to emphasise my favourite parts. An example of this from another poem is ‘I tear the moon off like an old sticker’. I find these moments really imaginative and beautiful.
In Bus the ‘jewellery store of tears dressing her cheeks’ reminds me of Jeff Buckley’s Jewel Box, which I love, as well as the wonderful idea of “moist windows”.
Pub is humourous and familiar, and by Eyes I’m thinking this must be the best of Josh. However, I turned the page and was engrossed in all parts of Sigging. I’ve always shunned prose-poetry because my experience of it through other people’s work was always just nothing resembling poetry at all, just (bad) prose. This is my favourite part of the book, I think it’s amazing.
Then we are left with After the Pull, and it feels like snapping out of hypnotherapy. Back to the real world then.
So, yeah, buy the book by clicking here.