Kenny Knight - The Honicknowle Book of the Dead


Kenny Knight - The Honicknowle Book of the Dead

Paperback, 108pp, 9x6ins

Download a PDF sampler from this book here.

Connoisseurs of the arcane will no doubt wonder what it is about Plymouth and Buddhism — first Lobsang Rampa, a.k.a. Cyril Henry Hoskins, self-styled bodily host to a reincarnated Tibetan lama, and now Kenny Knight's frequent invocations of the Dalai Lama—occasionally accompanied by Ruth Padel — in a new Book of the Dead. While Nirvana might be hard to reach in this suburban district of Plymouth, the highlight of which is a misplaced 19th century fort, Honicknowle nonetheless reaches the status of myth in this debut collection of poems. The Honicknowle Book of the Dead is where memory, movies, television and 1960s rock bands merge into a surreal narrative; it is where Lorna Doone and Louis Aragon share pages with Hank Marvin and Elvis Presley, where the local poetry scene announces its presence, and where — in an alternate universe — Ted Heath led Britain into the Common Market, Ted Heath, the band-leader, that is. For memory is confusion, and being young is confusing, and poetry is rarely anything but confusion. Welcome to extraordinary world of Kenny Knight.


"In Kenny Knight Plymouth has produced a poet rare for these times, one who loves the rain but always walks on the bright side. These poems are biographical nostalgia filtered through a deadpan poetic charm back into a childlike original wonder that sees the world as prelapsarian and amusingly innocent." —Tim Allen

"The Honicknowle Book of the Dead may have been long in the making but it is a quick witted invocation of transformational identity embedded in Dairy Lea and Dolcelatte. It is also much more than this. Here is the rarely explored mythology of England, precisely the Honicknowle suburb of Plymouth peopled by the living and the dead, ambiguous Buddhists, Miss Paris playing Telstar to the dinner ladies and newly-minted Mods.

Though Buckingham Shed, built by the author as creative nerve-centre-cum-ballroom for the reimagining of the world, remains unvisited by the royal family, the street names of Honicknowle regain their first magic. In this poetry recollection escapes tranquillity and the sorrows of young Kenny are matched by his joys, his fertile misunderstandings and the sweet realisation of the libidinous potential of bus-stops.

The Honicknowle Book of the Dead speaks without fuss and repeatedly we are left to admire its humanity and syntax — 'The donkey that bit my father on Weston-super-Mare beach after he'd foolishly stuck his hand in its mouth, was called Danny.'" —Kelvin Corcoran


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