A photograph by Dean Pasch provides the front cover illustration to “hall of several tortures”
Wombwell Rainbow Book Review: hall of several tortures By Reuben Woolley (Knives, Forks and Spoons press, 2019)
I am increasingly impressed by the work produced by Reuben Woolley. His latest publication “hall of several tortures” he describes as “built up around the multiverse concept. A young woman lives on a parallel world from ours (through the membrane) she is somehow able to see and sometimes participate in events on this dystopian world of ours.” The contents lists the poems without page numbers, and there are no page numbers on the pages themselves. As with most poetry collections this leaves us with two options: read the book page by page from left to right, or to dip in as our fancy takes us. Either way the words are sparse on the page so the “white space” becomes as much a part of the work as the text. It acts as a active silence between one word and another,
Much as in the plays of Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter the white space (silence) holds emotional weight, as does the plain language. No Latinisms or Greekisms. Music is paramount. Direct reference is made to the blues, and the way music moves us from one emotional state to another. These poems demand to be read aloud. They become like the layers in Dean Pasch’s photography, one view laid over another, so we see glimpses of another scene as if through a “membrane”. A device I am reminded was often marked as a “bad” photo when I got mine back from “Boots” the chemist, and even then thought it a great device for another way of looking at the world.
I look forward to reading more work by Reuben, His work could easily be presented on stage with Dean’s photos as backdrop, as it is intensely dramatic.
hall of several tortures book interview
Last years interview by The Wombwell Rainbow of Reuben Woolley’s creative process: