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Seren Books Blog

The Tall Thin Tenor comes from Kathryn Maris’s collection God Loves You published in 2013.

Kathryn Maris borrows rhythms, vocabulary and themes from the Bible in this collection of poems. The result is more than artful parody, although a sly wit is in evidence. It is an approach that accommodates large themes, unravelling them in new ways.

The first section, ‘What will the neighbours think?, is a kaleidoscopic view of the sins and sinners of the modern city and opens, appropriately enough, with a vision of a flood to rival Noah’s. The poems feature domestic discord, gossip, suicide, celebrity and anxiety about the safety and behaviour of children and spouses. It says much about this poet’s meticulous poise and tone that we are lured into these scenarios with our sympathies fully engaged.

The following sections subvert scripture more directly. A mock-prayer opens: ‘My father, who art in heaven,/ sits under…

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