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Tractor Bastard

Tractor Bastard

Review by Richie Brown

Perhaps as well known for his improvised music and an array of fanciful instruments as his own sharp, rustic verse, Haworth Hodgkinson's words still leap from the page as if being delivered in his own generous, sheepdog tones between gasps on a tenor recorder. His second collection, Tractor Bastard, charts a voyage through the seasons in twenty sittings offering spectacular views and often satirical ones. This unique combination lets us see his native North-East Scotland at its best and worst with scenes of natural beauty forming a backdrop to outrageous acts of retribution. This is a world where newborns question their absent fathers, while the changing weather is discussed by hypnagogic farm animals.

Haworth's poetry is melancholy, macabre and mirthful by turns — sometimes, like in In The Night, within the same poem. Elsewhere he plays the part of the chronicler — sketching notes on everyday life in ordinary, rural areas with names that ring exotic when coupled with his natural, surreal viewpoint. Often his finest work is no more than a brief, lunatic suggestion, yet sometimes, such as in the amusing A Broch Christmas Eve he allows his words to paint a short film, rather than a snapshot, even if, as it turns out, nobody else was around to witness it happening.

Richie Brown, poet
www.richiebrown.co.uk


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