Title: ‘Bring the Thing’
By: David Berridge
Publisher: if p then q
Berridge takes the concept of experimental poetry to an almost abstract level. His use of words often phonetically describes a mixture of the senses. He strips his poetry right down to these basics of sound. This could suggest that his poetry is in the impulsive voice of a child, or someone else who struggles to articulate their rapid thoughts. However, Berridge uses this voice to project mature poetical ideas and rhythm. The book is split into ‘DAYs’ rather than sections or chapters, and there are usually several short poems to a page.
Despite the constant reference to ‘the thing’ (which builds through the ‘DAYs’ into an ominous, possibly not human, presence), one of the themes of the book seems to be that everyone is human. This is made evident in phrases such as “breath success/maintains a/mortal body.’
Berridge also uses layout to help project his cryptic meanings. The blank spaces and the structure of his verses, produces a stuttering sound. There are only a few blocks of text and these are preceded by the nervous repetition of ‘block block block.’
Other themes include a focus on the physicality of writing, especially on computers; he mentions the emphasis of changing typefaces several times. He also mentions vague characters who read what he is writing over his shoulder.
Alfred Hitchcock is also mentioned more than once. The poems could be said to mimic the short scenes of a film. There could also be a theme of identity issues, Berridge seems to assume the personality of various characters throughout the book, and is successful in representing their thought patterns on paper.
Overall Berridge has produced a riddle of a book, which leaves the reader determined to solve his puzzle. I plan to read it several more times, and I’m sure it will stimulate my brain to keep ticking over with new theories. It is an interesting read, and I would recommend it to anyone with a brain drawn to the cryptic.