A Year in the New Life
Author: Jack Underwood
Publisher: Faber & Faber (2021)
Jack Underwood’s debut collection, Happiness (2015), was celebrated for its unconventional and daring tone: ‘conversational, arresting . . . weird, singular’ (Guardian). Such qualities are on accomplished display in this anticipated new collection, as the poems mature and move on to a wide range of preoccupations, including imminent societal collapse and current riots; the limits of masculinity and complexities of fatherhood; as well as uncanny, often amusing scenarios, such as serving drinks to a gathering of fifteen babies or group kissing in "Empathy Class." Throughout, incongruous and domestic subjects re-align in skewed lyrics and thought experiments, all presented with a generosity and tenderness that makes the poet so unmistakable—and indispensable for the strange times in which we live.
"Jack Underwood's poems are exceptional in how they surrender to their own music, each one a kind of expertly controlled free-fall. In this tough and tender time, we need these poems of tenderness, of toughness, and of time."
"The glorious abundance of Jack’s wayward absurdism and imagism creates intellectual plot-points felt like dreams, a way to think about logic in a different way, a way to think about things and people and life in a different way, which is the intention of poetry."
"Jack Underwood demonstrates in A Year in the New Life that he’s one of the most innovative imagists and thinkers writing in the English language."