"Peter Finch is probably the greatest living performer in poetry that we've got". Chris McCabe.
Zen Cymru is the new collection of poems by that master of modern angst, Peter Finch. Not one for quiet meditations, this voice is: loud, bewildered, satirical, furious, sad, fearful and funny.
This is a Wales that missed its revolution in ‘I Chew Gum and Think of Rifles’. This is a Wales beset by: rain, the ghosts of hard-drinking poets, of holy wells guarded by heifers, of sports crowds, Ikea, sheep, “enormous storm clouds”, and the ‘Entry of Christ Into Cardiff, 2005’. A health scare merits a mini-epic in ‘The Clinic’. Elvis is seen in Asda, Merthyr. Travel brings little respite, only access to foreign anxieties and temptations. We visit ‘The Miró Minibar’ in Barcelona, look for Béla Bartók in Hungary, take a road trip to Ireland, find more rain and that “The land gives out in an emerald flail.” America offers defunct bluesmen, a murderous Phil Spector, and over-zealous security personal near the Chelsea Hotel, NYC.
Finch is a well-known performance poet and his poems have the immediacy and the dramatic impact of pieces conceived for the stage. Formal innovation is allied with themes that are resonant and deeply humane. Zen Cymru will win yet more fans to the Finch cult.
Listen to Peter Finch read his poem, ‘I Chew Gum and Think of Rifles’: