A brilliant new collection by the prize-winning Scottish poet
At first, these extraordinary poems may unsettle and disturb, but the next reading could be one of rapture and astonishment; it all hinges on your point of view. Like the optical illusion of the maiden and the crone, you can only see one image at a time; the brain deciding which is the figure and which the background. It is a book that acts out its own subjects – dualities, ambiguities, boundaries – through physical dislocation, through patterns of interference.
This is a collage of many voices: eager or dispassionate, unreliable or matter-of-fact – depending, as with everything else, on your angle of entry. Some of the voices fear involvement; some are afraid of doing nothing; some, perhaps, have already gone too far. Like the image on the cover, these pieces shimmer and buzz in their own instability. Is this punishment or reward? What is the yellow smoke? Will there be bodies floating under the plastic pool-cover? Are we, like the hotel manager, seeing visions?
Volatile, troubling, but endlessly interesting, these poems show J. O. Morgan working and compressing language into a precarious, frictional state. As a result, Interference Pattern is a unique reading experience: vivid, challenging and completely original.
“Eliot comes repeatedly to mind in reading Interference Pattern because, in its tragic grandeur and sophistication, it is a poem that could come to be for the twenty-first century what The Waste Land was to the twentieth.”
David Collard, Times Literary Supplement
“This collection carries you, unnerves and stimulates. It absolutely meets TS Eliot’s requirement that poetry be “genuine”… It is vividly miscellaneous poetry…bracing, original.”
Kate Kellaway, Observer
“Interference Pattern teases us at every turn, inviting us to try to unlock its secrets while keeping the keys just out of sight… The multifarious voices in the book mostly speak over each other but occasionally to each other, creating an intricate web of echoes and half-echoes.”
Roger Cox, Scotland on Sunday