Wednesday 10 February 2021

Review by Tracey Foster of "Sounds in the Grass" by Matt Nunn

As the wind whispers through the grass, what sounds does it make? According to this poetry collection by Matt Nunn it whispers a tale of anarchy, teen angst and rain plop on a crapola landscape. From his early school days with a 'right-venerable tosspot' headmaster to the two-tone reggae beat in his poem 'Coventry Calling,' this self-labelled 'dumb brummie buffoon' takes us on a roller-coaster ride of gutsy language that holds no truck with any refined sensibilities. 

‘What’s it all about big ‘ead?’: Nunn's poems evoke a Burgess-like quality with their old-school expressions, insults and in the creation of Nadsat-like words ‘the screaming Pollocky sky of angels.’ Nunn manages to capture the love for ‘this soaking beloved isle of sodden crapness’ that is both new and yet harks back to a familiar past. His poems juxtapose the everyday with the sublime, making us look at our experiences in a renewed light, like ‘God with a spray can’ attacking our insensitivities. 

‘Grubby precincts of paradises’ are populated with the bizarre and bereft, from the have-a-go-heroes and 'grot-faced nippers' to the 'prissy cagouled tourists' and 'Tudor-haired truckers.' Nunn scatters a range of characters throughout his text to share their stories with us, affectionately reminiscing on the revolting recent past of Mini Metros, cassette tapes, Vespas, Chernobyl and disco lights, taking us on a stroll down memory lane with an eye on the profane. His opening 'Prologue' sums it up:

          Come you tender violinist lovers
          and rude thumping drummers
          and you too, you strangely alluring
          but precipice-stiff
          and I’ll teach you in a boom frazzled
          in daydreams of thunderstorms.

          Come you who turn yourselves audaciously
          inside out until you are nothing
          but a bloody shredded kiss
          hanging off a borrowed skull’s humming lips.

          If you want,
          I can be all crazy flesh,
          the epitome of polite romance
          as sweet and delicate as you would wish:

          not a proper man but the Sounds in the Grass …

Open your ears and visualise the scene, as Nunn transports us to an all too familiar ‘screaming landscape.’

About the reviewer
As a teacher of Art and Design for over thirty years, Tracey has channelled her imagination into getting the best creative output out of others. She is now hoping to restore her create mojo and has enrolled on the Creative Writing MA course at Leicester University. Last year, she completed the Comma Press short story course with Rebecca Burns and collectively published Tales from Garden Street. She is due to have first poem published by the Poetry Bus magazine and is currently working on a poetry collection.


  1. Excellent review with meaningful insight into the poet's vision and feelings.

  2. Excellent review with meaningful insight into the poet's vision and feelings.