|   |  1 min read

Minuit: The Sum of Us (2004)

While it seems to be going too far to suggest, as the reviewer of Radio NZ National did, that these "one-liners, poems, lyrics and tales" are "reminiscent of Cohen's mid-career poetry and writings" they are certainly more than merely diverting.

The writer -- Ruth Carr of the band Minuit -- has some snappy aphorisms, odd and dark poems and some very refined writing.

The short prose piece Kosovo ends with this chilling but frank observation: "It's very easy participating in a conversation in ex-Yugoslavia. You know it's about war. This war, the last war, and then the war before that. And also the one coming soon to a town near you."

At the other end of the spectrum are slight pieces like this, in its entirety: "I meant to hand you a bowl of love but instead it was a colander. . . . sorry . . ."

Others are more sassy, just lightning fast quips: "I'm not complaining about what I'm dealt, I just wanna beat the dealer."

Among the best are her poem Cancer which places the reality of the announcement against how people act on television ("I should have clutched my brow"), and Cancer II is simple: "You stupid, stupid thing, if you kill me, you die too". Also memorable are those more refined pieces where love appears but is often dark, over or unreachable. Hate Speak finds her in exotic foreign places but angry with herself that a former lover is there, in her head.

Using a number of type faces and also some poems/pieces in her own hand -- and illustrated with her own little drawings, Carr has created a very personal looking book. And there are Extras "like on a DVD" for some of the pieces: those marked with XX have explanatory notes or rather soul-baring confessions at the end of the book.

Carr's book may be slim, but as a first volume there are places where she shows enormous promise as an insightful poet and writer.

It's hard to escape something so short but as weighted with meaning as this:

"I cry very softly at night, so not to wake you

I looked across the bed, and you were crying softly too,

So not to wake me."

I Felt Like a Fight, Alright is available from here.

Share It

Your Comments

Adam - Mar 27, 2011

An awesome review that I totally agree with. I found the book extremely insightful and proof that the best musicians are poets first.

post a comment

More from this section   Writing at Elsewhere articles index

BILL WYMAN, STONE ALONE REVIEWED (1990): Insider looking out

BILL WYMAN, STONE ALONE REVIEWED (1990): Insider looking out

It’s probably a bit cruel to destroy people’s faith in myths -- like telling a six-year old the truth about Santa Claus -- but the reason there are so few decent autobiographies and... > Read more



Joe Ely who grew up in Lubbock, West Texas (Buddy Holly's hometown) is something of a legend in Americana/alt.country rock: he was on the road in the early 70s hitching around to play gigs far... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

It's a peculiar thing, but the music which gave the world rock'n'roll and rock as we know it -- the blues, in case you missed the connection -- seems utterly marginalised in the media. Even... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LAIBACH: The politics of noise

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LAIBACH: The politics of noise

Out of the old Yugoslavia in the early Eighties they came, their industrial sound grinding like tank tracks across the earwaves of Europe, their look unacceptably miltaristic, their irony... > Read more