The Hitting Game
The Hitting Game is the first collection of poems by the London-based poet Graham Clifford. The vibrancy of the poet’s voice and the immediacy of his claims upon our attention are clear.
Characters first appear as ‘you’ in ‘Obvious Constellations’, ‘Amazing’ and ‘Trying’, as if we’ve arrived in the middle of a conversation. Incidents are approached from disarmingly intimate and also entertainingly oblique angles, as in ‘Shorn’. These are urban poems where nature appears like a strange intrusion: a flock of swallows ‘flick about dusk like black flames’. There is also a gentleness and empathy, particularly in regards to children, as in ‘About my daughter’ where the word ‘echoes: ‘the er-ing sound of doubt/mixed with ought.’ There is humour and pathos as in the poem about a chimp and her keeper.
These are poems full of unexpected dramas and fresh enchantments, they provoke as well as delight.