THE MAGPIE ALMANACK by Simon Williams
Simon Williams (www.simonwilliams.info) has been writing since his teens, when he was mentored at university by Roger McGough and Pete Morgan and his first collection was published back in 1981. Since then, he has had seven further collections, his latest being a co-authored pamphlet with Susan Taylor, The Weather House (www.simonwilliams.info/books), which has also toured in performance. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and published the PLAY anthology, in memory of his young grandson, in 2018. He is currently (October 2020) developing a one-man poetry show, Cosmic Latte, centred on astronomy, animals and sub-atomic particles, One day he may be able to perform it.
Reviews of 'The Magpie Almanack'
'The Magpie Almanack by Simon Williams is an accomplished, varied collection with a quality of quirkiness that strongly appeals to me. There is a light touch to most of the poems but some are hard hitting – ironic with a sting in the tail – and several are tender and sad. [...} Everyone will have their own favourite poems in a collection, some lines that amuse or bring back a memory, something poignant or controversial, a thought that makes us think. '
— Mandy Pannett. Sentinel International Literary Journal
Simon Williams’ ninth collection, The Magpie Almanack, is as entertaining as we have come to expect from this versatile and accessible poet. His poetry is wide-ranging, from Nobel Prize Winners to mad poets to all-too-human subjects. Simon has a great facility for metre and rhyme. His humour arises from the absurd, as in My Journey Here Today and Synchronicity. I’ve laughed out loud and been touched by many lines in this volume. It’s a great tonic in these grey times.
— Patricia Oxley
Simon Williams wears his learning lightly. He knows a lot about a lot of different things, whether it's mending a roof, organising the pants drawer or making fine distinctions between different kinds of music. In fact these mainly narrative poems on a wide range of subjects are filled with musicality, both in terms of the subject matter - from Rock to Mozart and vice-versa in five easy lessons or in the actual structure of the poems. He knows about form and how to construct a neatly traditional poem, but not in the sense that it gets in the way of your enjoyment of the piece. These poems are accomplished, great fun to read and great fun to hear read, if you're lucky enough to see/hear him perform them live.
— Steve Spence
As the title suggests, this collection embraces a very wide range of highly eclectic subjects under an equally remarkable set of titles: Kleen-eezy; Interview with a Blemmye; Rearranging my Pants Drawer; Sir Walter Raleigh’s Cycling Tour of the Americas; Nine Dadaist Views of Mt Fuji. All treated with bizarre and wry humour as in the poem Anthology where publications about the ‘anths, small creatures with lisps’ are lined up ‘neatly on bookshelfths’. Beneath the quirky humour there is sometimes sadness as in the poem Naming Them where dead twins are never named, and also anger at the suffering of human beings in such poems as Howling. I am honoured to have been invited to write this brief endorsement of this collection which, unlike the collections mentioned in Poetry Book Cat – ‘few poetry books / purr beneath your fingers’ – purrs very loudly indeed. I loved it!
— Gill McEvoy
This is a highly entertaining collection where the expertise of the poet mingles with sheer originality which highlights the absurd and surreal angles of our lived realities.
— Carla Scarano D’Antonio reviewing 'The Magpie Almanack' in SOUTH 64, September 2021