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The Man With the Gallows Eyes: Selected Poetry, 1980-2005

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Billy Childish is the poet laureate of the underdog. Drawn from over 40 collections of poetry, this book presents the very best poetry and woodcuts of Britain's most outspoken and untamed voice in painting, music and literature. Billy Childish is the poet laureate of the underdog. Drawn from over 40 collections of poetry, this book presents the very best poetry and woodcuts of Britain's most outspoken and untamed voice in painting, music and literature.


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Billy Childish is the poet laureate of the underdog. Drawn from over 40 collections of poetry, this book presents the very best poetry and woodcuts of Britain's most outspoken and untamed voice in painting, music and literature. Billy Childish is the poet laureate of the underdog. Drawn from over 40 collections of poetry, this book presents the very best poetry and woodcuts of Britain's most outspoken and untamed voice in painting, music and literature.

30 review for The Man With the Gallows Eyes: Selected Poetry, 1980-2005

  1. 4 out of 5

    Warwick

    Billy Childish leaned over my shoulder as I bought this book – I'm not talking metaphorically now, I mean he actually did – it was a place in Whitstable and he leaned over me with a betting-shop pencil and signed the front cover with a little hangman figure. And the thing is I didn't recognise him for a few seconds, I had the sudden alarming impression that a random tramp had wandered into the bookshop and started doodling on my new purchases. Then I saw the moustache and it clicked. He said som Billy Childish leaned over my shoulder as I bought this book – I'm not talking metaphorically now, I mean he actually did – it was a place in Whitstable and he leaned over me with a betting-shop pencil and signed the front cover with a little hangman figure. And the thing is I didn't recognise him for a few seconds, I had the sudden alarming impression that a random tramp had wandered into the bookshop and started doodling on my new purchases. Then I saw the moustache and it clicked. He said something like, ‘There y'are, mate,’ before shambling off. Childish has had a tough life and it shows in his face – not really in a bad way, he just looks weathered and interesting. If you know Medway you'll know the kind of environment he was dealing with when he grew up. His father was a violent alcoholic often not around, he was sexually abused as a child, he was and is severely dyslexic, he was kicked out of art school for writing ‘toilet wall humour’. Worked on the docks. Lived on the dole for 15 years writing poetry and playing the guitar and trying to paint. He ended up with a major drinking problem, as well he might. He is not the greatest poet but there is something very appealing about his rawness, his honesty. Sometimes he's portrayed as the English Bukowski, and although he really doesn't have Hank's talent, he does make up for it in diversity – beyond poetry he's an accomplished musician (stripped down and underproduced, try this for instance) and a very interesting painter who founded a minor British art movement called Stuckism. (This was famously named after a comment yelled at him by his then-girlfriend, Tracey Emin – ‘Your paintings are stuck, you are stuck!’ – as recorded in one of his poems, which sadly is not included in this collection.) His excellent woodcuts are scattered through this book. I remember after I got this I was reading one of the early poems, romantically entitled ‘when the spunk hits yur in the face’, which begins then this bloke says ‘yu nans dead’ n its the same man who raped you then it starts raining then somebody makes yu nob sore then all this spunk starts flying atcha And I was reading this while eating pitta bread dipped in Waitrose extra virgin olive oil houmous, and I remember thinking ‘I'm probably not the target audience.’ At his best, Childish finds beauty – no, that's not strong enough – he forces beauty out of his own resources of pain, loss and sadness, teasing little epiphanies out of the beat-up everyday urban environment of Chatham. it wasnt a rose in winter it was a dirty pice of tissue cought in a hawthorn bush but somehow it was better than a rose Though compared to him my background is insanely comfortable, he is a poet who extols longing and failure and drunken nocturnal revelations so there is plenty to relate to even just stylistically. Reading him gives me flashbacks to all the evenings that ended with a raw throat and that sort of exhausted narcotic melancholy that you can only feel waiting for the nightbus next to someone that doesn't want you to kiss them. A piece like ‘15 qwid’ for instance is a kind of poetic version of The Pogues's ‘Rainy Night in Soho’: walking threw lester sq at 10.35pm with her hard on my shoulder i rip up my last 15 qwid and sprinkle it over her head like confetti thats the only type of wedding shes gonna get If being broke and drunk and bored and horny in London means nothing to you then these poems perhaps will not speak to you at all. I'm not sure. I think their quality is mainly in their referential appeal, but I could be wrong. Of course, you still have to deal with a lot of poems that just try to represent moments in his life that he needs to get out, which you may not be sure quite what to do with (one, fairly typical, begins: ‘my girlfriend / was eating codine / and i was in / the park fuckin / this big-titted / 18 year old whore’…all right then). I like Billy Childish. He is himself. He's worth reading alongside someone like Nicola Barker, for a different view of Medway. And because not many other British poets are in a position tell you about these things. i am billy childish ex-poet and failed suiside late nite vomiter of truth and lies kisser of the arses of girls like the stars of god riter of poems to lick the thighs of the dead for ex- lovers to denounce and teachers to hate wishing to paint my life and  to never let my voice quieten

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katya Mills

    billy childish. my favorite dyslexic poet. naked and unafraid. stabbing wood with a blade

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robin Plan

  4. 5 out of 5

    R. Rooksby

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen J.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bill Stoves

  7. 4 out of 5

    T

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deaidra Coleman

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pierre Corbeau

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maxi

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bernardo Mozelli

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claire Dv

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liam

  18. 5 out of 5

    S D Cooke

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    Chris Shaw

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lou

  21. 4 out of 5

    Empress

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Terranova

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    Diarmait

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Taylor

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark Vanner

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Peel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Angelle Laigo

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karl Mahoney

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