Political Ties

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These poems explore current concerns about the quality of human relationships in a digital age, the subtle influence of neo-liberal ideology, the psychology of the impact of terrorism and modern warfare, and the fragility of identity in the postmodern era. Some derive from the author's experience as a psychologist working with a variety of emotional and behavioural difficulties. They reflect doubts and ambiguities about the validity of the expert's knowledge and the reliability of judgements on the causes and moral status of so-called 'deviant' behaviour. The poems are full of both light and dark humour, irony, contradictory 'voices', surreal elements and apt but often provocative metaphors, reflecting the dilemmas and uncertainties of the politically committed poet who is nevertheless open to experience and for whom life is not a closed book. A variety of verse forms - haiku, sonnet, sestina, villanelle, blank verse, terza rima, dramatic monologue - and verbal styles are used, and the poems are couched in accessible, lively, contemporary language. The reader is introduced to various personae, including a person addicted to life online, someone with illusions about a personal trainer, a steward who used to be a football hooligan, rubberneckers on a motorway, a female worker about to be sacked, a person with highland cow phobia, an arsonist's daughter, a self denigrating prison visitor, a worried well-heeled news reader, a stressed out drone pilot, a group of old ramblers with military fantasies, works' cricketers.