Chris Muirhead offers an exuberant review of a debut poetry collection by Richard Thomas 

The Strangest Thankyou
by Richard Thomas9780956892157-Front-Cover-071112
Cultured Llama books
www.culturedllama.co.uk
96 pp  £8
ISBN 978-0-9568921-5-7

The writing of Richard Thomas is playful, self-aware and comical in one strand and artful, weighty and serious in another. These contrasting approaches wrap around one another throughout the book in a way that pulls the reader through the high reeds of his sometimes lyrical lake, twisting and tightening until you find your feet in his delivery. These poems are perfect for reading aloud and Thomas’s eloquence bends the poems back and forth from how you experience them on the page, to how you hear him onstage.

 My particular favourite is ‘The Flower Pot’ which takes tiny scenes from an imaginary film and creates a slightly unsettling atmosphere while twisting the narrative to lead you away from its initial premise.  I am interested in the visual elements of Thomas’s writing and the quiet confidence with which he extends from sometimes overtly ordinary beginnings into the weird, the morose or the sly comedy he exhibits throughout the book.

Elsewhere ‘Hands’ exposes Thomas’s introverted contemplations while toying with repetition – a tool he uses to great effect throughout the book.

The writing here is absorbing, unpredictable and yet it is also recognizable. This young poet has found his voice during the writing of these pieces; and it is one you can imagine chatting to over a coffee or pontificating with about space, with both a tongue in cheek and hand on its chin. Marvelous.