The Private Zoo
by Gordon Meade
Published 1st June 2008
£8.99 post free in UK.
‘A lovely and considered collection of poems, packed with quiet insights into the private lives of birds, reptiles and sea-life’, so wrote The Edinburgh Review on Gordon Meade’s The Cleaner Fish. Continuing in words just as apt for this book: ‘a remarkable collection dealing with the complexities of human understanding, awareness of the environment and how we identify ourselves in regard to one another’. The Private Zoo, however, extends such insights within a personal odyssey from sea to sea - Venice to Florida and back to his front door in Fife. Water is their element - seen through, reflecting, unstable but, momentarily, readable - and the poems themselves are effortlessly readable. Their language is idiomatic, fresh, enjoyable. It is also subtle, always on the verge of giving way.
For melancholy, read malice;
these guys are out of their minds
on boredom. Why not
make their day...
- ‘The Odd Couple (human or reptile?).
‘The Painted Hunting Dogs’ so soon leave the safe world of admiring wit:
each one a sleeping beauty, [they] are in their man-made den, and dead to the world...
Is ‘The Snow Leopard’ ‘trying to erase herself’ here, an image of the writer or his opposite? These supple poems are political about man and his environments and, like water, they change perspectives and they have depth.
Gordon Meade was born and brought up in Perthshire, Scotland; and attended the Universities of Dundee and Newcastle Upon Tyne. He now lives, with his family, in Fife where he divides his time between his own writing and running creative writing courses for various organisations. At present, he is involved in a combined creative arts project for a number of schools in Fife incorporating creative writing, drama, dance, music, animation and visual art. He has recently been appointed as the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Dundee.
Copyright © 2008 Arrowhead Press
Last modified: 10 March 2011