Poetry Pamphlet Reviews & Features

Run by HappenStance Press

Pale blue cover. Positioned roughly in the middle is the title in large black caps and over four lines, each very close together TWELVE / MOONS / OF / MADNESS. Across and behind the title is a little line of circular shapes that could be blue moons. They are arranged a little like a constellation.Twelve Moons of Madness, Tom Sharp

The Hammerwich Working £10.00

On stitching

‘and the needle is landing’                     

When we stitch, we join two objects together. In Twelve Moons of Madness stitching is immediately apparent: the physically stitched pamphlet, the needle artwork. What happens when the poet takes this further and stitches their poetry? By bringing together two ideas and fusing them, the poet presents readers with new but familiar concepts and invites us to consider the world differently.

Throughout the pamphlet, the poet explores his mind-set during each full moon over a year and quite early on, we notice a recurring technique, this binding of words:

                               Its ambient turn
                  is as old as the bass
                               and bubbleboom song

What is ‘bubbleboom’ doing? It’s taking the image of a bubble, delicate and almost non-existent and giving it depth and power – the bubble becomes grand and sonorous, something to be feared. We have more: ‘dreamdeepdown’, ‘furybright’, ‘sparklevast’.

The pamphlet is beautifully illustrated and rather than including page numbers, uses a recurring illustration of the moon, acting as a visual tally and uniting the poems through a shared lodestone. As if in response, an illustration of a needle threading itself between two of these moons is suggestive of the stitching taking place; other poems call back with more stitched-together words and a needle appears again later on:

                  like sand on the breath,
                  I saw the Needle
                  was far from me.

 The poet’s state of mind responding to the moon’s waxing is apparent. When altered he sees the world’s togetherness, and his paradoxical words allude to a type of magic that seems only to exist when the moon is full. But it’s been captured on these pages: there’s a tangible sense of what seems illumination, of clarity.

                  Moon slips its swing
                  to swing in the glitterbig

Callan Waldron-Hall