Tuesday 1 October 2019

Review by Lee Wright of Gifted by Patrick Williamson

“It is with mixed emotions that we’ve decided to bring the Found Poetry Review to a close after more than five years in operation. After ten issues and a variety of special projects, we look back on this endeavour with pride.”  
    Founded in 2011 by Jenni Baker, Found Poetry Review was a proud platform to promote found poetry and provide a home for work that was often not welcome in traditional publications. As part of National Poetry Month in 2013, Found Poetry Review launched the Pulitzer Remix Project, which brought together 85 poets from seven countries to create found poems from the 85 Pulitzer Prize winning works of fiction. Of which writer author Patrick Williamson was one. And his pick for the Remix Project was Saul Bellow’s 1975 roman à clef, Humbolt’s Gift.
    Across thirty poems, Williamson attempts to keep the artistic integrity of Bellow’s novel close at hand. And how effective the words chosen from Bellow’s text are. They read, as most of Bellow’s own work often did, as exaggerated meditations. In this collection, death’s dateless night is always at the heart of each poem, even the more ambitious ones. You may find yourself less taken with Williamson’s collection than with the original material. But this too, must have been one point of the Pulitzer Remix Project. To take readers back to the source material. Championing both it, and found poetry at the same time. If anything, this collection provides a nice bedside companion to Bellow’s novel. And although by no means essential, these poems are probably best enjoyed in conjunction with Humbolt’s Gift. Yes, Patrick Williamson’s Gifted is an unashamed masquerade, and all the more enjoyable for it.   
Patrick Williamson is an English poet currently living near Paris. He is the author of the poetry pamphlets, Locked in, or out? (2011) Bacon, Bits, & Buriton (2011) and Nel Santuario (2013). He has also worked as an editor and translator.   

About the reviewer
Lee Wright's short stories, poems and articles have been published by Fairlight Shorts, The Black Country Arts Foundry, Burning House Press and Flash Flood Journal. He is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.    

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