‘I’ve seen how it ends/It ain’t a pretty sight’
Thus begins poet Phil Dodsworth’s first published book of poetry Even My Imaginary Friends Hate Me, which conjures just the right wry vibe for this darkly humourous collection of witty, self-deprecating work. Think David Shrigley without the doodles and you’re roughly in the same ball park.
Case in point: The Twat, a poem which worries as it unravels about offending people, but that people who are offended by it are indeed twats. (The poem also offers readers the option of removing that page, with a dotted line included for your tearing ease.)
Some of Dodsworth’s poems are short and punchy, like Masterpiece, which starts with the line ‘Pissed as a twat’ (not all of the poems contain the word ‘twat’ incidentally), while others verge on the epic, such as The First Time, which is dense and intense as it lists a lot of firsts you may well recognise and cringe. It’s dark: Demons is a cynical diatribe about the monsters that live in our seething brains; it’s frequently startling: ‘When I heard you were dead/I was sorry/Sorry for your wasted life’ and always a page turner.
The poems veer from light and daft to eye-openingly arresting: Some Will Not Return Home Today is a soberingly amusing account of the many ways we may die, which is a genius cacophony of dark chuckles, and then Storms presents sad musings on a failing love.
Even My Imaginary Friends Hate Me is available at The Little Apple Bookshop in York (for £6) and we highly recommend getting your own copy and reading it several times before we ruin it. If we haven’t done so already.