Richard Scott – Wound
Suppose you could travel back, in the obscure regions of memory, to the origin of desire? For Richard Scott, and perhaps for all of us, that beginning point is a wound – an occasion of harm, a lack – that forever after shapes our sense of what it is to want. For the martyred saints on display in the parish church, “devotion is a perpetual hurt.” Scott’s poems chronicle violation – in the van of the unforgettable fishmonger among “the stopped hearts of bivalves pickled in brine/…resting on clouds of ice,” or at the hands of the butcher’s apprentice: “Oh to be your prey!/ Hang me up…” Brave and aching poems, yes, but not merely so; Scott’s resonant language veers between the plain and the rapturous, testifying to the persistence, no matter what, of pleasure.
Wound impresses with its colourful cast of lovers, martyrs, predators and porn stars, leading the reader on a journey into the lower lit corners of sexual experience and desire. Scott is a poet with something to say and the considerable skills with which to express it in the most memorable lyric terms. ‘All of us are capable of great change’, reflects one of his striking characters: I was reminded, throughout, of the transformative power of art.
In Wound, Richard Scott conveys the affliction of desire, that entanglement of cruelty and tenderness, with an unwholesome intensity. His carefully shaped poems are both poignant and pungent, articulated with a smarting self-awareness. They read like the kind of official warning you can’t help taking as a recommendation.
Wire bound pamphlet, 36pp including cover.