Sunday, 31 May 2009


It’s the BBC Poetry Season, and on their website you can vote to decide the nation’s favourite poet. Well, I want to vote for Joseph Ridgwell yet all I’m presented with is a string of mainly dead old impenetrable duffers who say nothing to me about my life. (Thank you Morrissey).

Fortunately, the more discerning folk at Blackheath Books have this week published their second chapbook of Ridgwell’s poems, and if Where Are The Rebels? lined the targets against the wall, Load The Guns blows their heads clean off.

In the way John Lee Hooker can say more by banging a rhythm on a battered guitar than the combined effort of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Joe Ridgwell can capture more in a few direct uncompromising lines than all the flowery metaphor and allegory of Lords Whatnot, Whoever and Whocares put together.

Joe gets directly to the harsh truth that most everything is pointless, faintly ridiculous and ultimately worthless, yet acknowledging that fact affords a position of strength, enabling one to bask in those fleeting little victories life occasionally offers.

Load The Guns is one such victory. Vote Ridgwell.

Published by Blackheath Books, priced £5. Available from

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