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The Crack Magazine

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Hopeless Romantic by Rowan McCabe

Newcastle poet Rowan McCabe has made something of a name for himself over the last few years as the world’s first door-to-door poet. This venture saw him knocking on stranger’s doors to ask what was important to them. He then took himself off to his garret, penned a poem regarding these important issues, and then returned to the stranger’s door to perform said poem. His new slim volume of poetry came about after he was invited by the National Trust to be poet in residence at William Wordsworth’s childhood home. He uses Wordsworth as something of a springboard here, but the pandemic – as it has with all walks of life over the last couple of years – has also seeped into these works. He’s also adapted his door-to-door concept (by way of letter writing), which has resulted in a new clutch of bespoke poems on everything from frontline workers to chatting with plants. There is plenty of humour in his work. In ‘Last Days’ he describes a train journey where he sees, ‘beyond the glass, / fist fighting over toilet paper’. Such lines make his work slip down very easily but that particular poem is given weight by the conclusion: ‘Maybe, I thought, / my children will ask me / what it felt like to ride on a train. / And I will have to explain / I was mostly looking backwards, / or somewhere into space. / That I never really stopped / to clock what it was, / till it seemed about to vanish / on the very last day.’ A fab collection, then, full of light and shade. RM

National Trust

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