Clifford Liles lives in Hereford but has travelled, lived and worked in several countries. His poems have appeared in Acumen, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, London Grip, The Cannon’s Mouth and Dream Catcher. He gained second place in the Earlyworks Press competition and has been shortlisted in the Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year competition.
'The Thin Veneer' by Clifford Liles
“These poems speak of the lives we lead today, but with a rare intensity and sympathy...
a very thoughtful new voice.” — Professor Jan Pahl CBE, D.Litt.
“Clifford Liles has found a very apt title for his first collection … In mostly short poems which stretch and bend the sonnet form he draws poems from the perceptions and incidents experienced while working in various countries and travelling as far as Australia … In the section Life are several near-death experiences deftly set down … but not without wry humour … Each poem here has a sharp spike of sudden clear-seeing. The introductory note says it explores such themes as the fragility of our existence and ‘opens a window onto all that stands between civilisation and its loss: the thin veneer’. Dead right. “
— Martin Underwood of Cannon Poets in The Cannon’s Mouth, Cannon Poets Quarterly,
ISSN 1745-663003, Issue 85, September 2022.
"Clifford Liles examines the fragility of human existence through his adventures with sonnet form. The poems consider relationships, technology, nature, and climate change and show us ‘The Thin Veneer’ over potential peril, the ‘Fourteen lines of fracture’ of the sub-title. He demonstrates a keen eye for the fresh, sometimes startling image. His deft handling of subtle metaphor and skilful attention to sound and rhythm make this collection a pleasure to read."
— Angela France
"Definitely no veneer, thin or otherwise, covers up the many skills displayed in this beautiful collection. Variations in the sonnet form, conveyed with apparent ease and simplicity, sparkle throughout. Language is inventive and witty, lyrical as in the visionary poem ‘Requiem for a Kayaker’ or brutal and harsh when it tells of a relationship’s ‘bitter breakfast’ where words on a page are like ‘barbed wire on ice and white.’ But there is one quality in The Thin Veneer that appeals to me most of all and that is the poet’s evocation of atmosphere and mood. I am left with a sense of whiteness and winter, of shadows and of stillness in empty scrublands.
— Mandy Pannett
“The Thin Veneer by Clifford Liles displays his love for the sonnet and his expertise in writing it. Ingenious innovation and the use of half-rhymes, enjambement and allusion make sure that his use of the form never becomes stale. The poems address contemporary topics suchas marriage breakdown, street protests, a coup d’état, dance floor jealousy and homelessness, proving that the sonnet is as able to address our concerns now as it was to address those of Shakespeare’s or Petrarch’s time”.
— Derek Sellen, Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2018
ISBN: 978-1-913329-81-5. RRP £8.50
High-grade paperback, 210 x 148mm, 42 pages
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