Reclusive Hastings poet John D Robinson has been featured in these pages before. Hundreds of his poems have appeared in the small press and online journals, and Robinson has an impressive back catalogue of chapbooks, broadsides, perfect bounds and poetry cards. Just as the underground music scene releases limited edition vinyl that immediately become collectors’ items, so too the underground literary scene publishes limited edition poetry, often (like limited edition art prints) numbered and signed by the creator.

One of many collections Robinson has released so far this year is The Pursuit of Shadows, this one published by Yorkshire-based Analog Submission Press. Its nine poems run to twenty pages in a handmade staple-bound chapbook edition of twenty-five hand-numbered copies, with cover artwork by Janne Karlsson. The publisher’s website adds the detail: ‘Printed on an old Canon laser printer we found abandoned at a dump site.’ This is truly poetry for poetry’s sake.

The works in this collection echo an empathy for the attachment of those struggling with addiction to their own ‘works’ – if you understand the world of street drinking and substance misuse you’ll get what I mean. Robinson finds the beauty in those who are often marginalised or ignored within our divided society, whilst not afraid to spell
out the degradation and desperation that many of its citizens have to endure.

Some of the poems suggest a personal emotional involvement from the author, others experiential observation (check out Aware Theory if this phrase interests you). Most seem to me like a combination of both, but it’s up to each individual reader to unpick Robinson’s weave and sew their own life experience into the fabric. Whichever way you interpret the material, The Pursuit of Shadows is real and pure poetry.

I have number 07/25 but I had to buy my copy, at a well-worth-it £3 plus £2 postage – no such thing as a free review copy with these precious babies! Needless to say, it sold out soon after publication but that doesn’t necessarily preclude a review.

For more information visit

If any underground poetry fans want to hear the poems, contact me on [email protected] and I’ll find a way. Maybe a reading by me
(I know John D Robinson won’t read in public) at a local poetry event, or persuading him to allow HIP to print one or more of his poems in Poetry Corner. Let’s hope so.

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