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Adrian Plass - Silences and Nonsenses: collected poetry, doggerel and whimsy

(Authenticmedia, £10.99, ISBN 9781850788768)

I'm a great fan of Adrian Plass, so I was delighted to get a copy of his collected poems as there were some I already knew and loved, and others I wanted to get to know.

Culled from 25 years of writing, there is an exhilarating mix here that capture much of the heart of the man and his willingness to be vulnerable before God, and honest with what he finds in church life.

It's probably a volume best dipped into at random, rather than read from start to finish, as although there is a chronological ordering with pieces grouped in sections from 1985 onwards, each section has a very mixed feel and the contents range from the playful and silly to the deeply serious, from reflective and devotional, to baffled and questioning.

One of Adrian's great gifts is making us smile and wince at the same time. His humour disarms us and then delivers a blow to the solar plexus as our foibles and compromises are exposed.

Many of the pieces came from incredibly difficult times for Adrian and his family, others from his visits to dangerous and poor parts of the world, and many from his ongoing love affair with the Church.

Some poems were written as performance pieces, and work best in that way, while others are more meditative and suitable for personal reflection. Everyone will find items they love and which speak to them.

Yes, there are some pieces there that aren't great poetry, but there are some gems too – overall this is a volume you'll want to use, to pass on and to return to. Lovely stuff.

Russ Bravo

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