‘Joe Neal paints a layered and subtle picture of days gone by. The highest compliment I can give to his poems is that I thought they were about my life‘ - Eoin Colfer
njkl njkl


JOE NEAL reads from his collection of poems "Telling it at a Slant - tales
from the heart and other places" published by Pen Press on July 17, 2013.
ISBN code is 978-1-78003-664-9.


Tales from the heart - and other places.
Tales from Wales.
Tales from Ireland.

Reader's Report

In Telling it at a Slant, poet Joe Neal offers his own take on Emily Dickinson‘s advice in her poem ‘Tell All the Truth‘, and on his own Uncle ldwal‘s wise counsel, revealing life‘s great and smaller truths - the pleasures of desire, tendemess and love in all its guises; death and the pain of loss; childhood memories, wonderment and afflictions: the joys that music brings; the beauties of nature as it both blooms and fades; specific locations and their peculiar character. etc - in a guileless narrative voice that gently guides the reader through aspects of the world from his particular viewpoint. The collection is divided into three parts: ‘Tales from the heart and other places‘. ‘Tales from Wales‘ and ‘Tales from Ireland‘, but all have in common elements of powerful emotion, which reinforces the idea that feeling and remembrance are in some sense a place, and place is so often instilled with feeling and memory.
Neal‘s poetic style is beautifully lyrical and often animated, and it frequently touches the reader‘s senses: for example, we meet the blind piano tuner, under whose skilful touch a ‘jagged sound grew round‘, and who ‘conjured colour/out of black and white‘; watch a strangely endearing six-legged spider called Ida making a ‘paralympic scurry‘, and arctic terns ‘dip and ?ake the surface‘ of a lake; gaze at a dead rose‘s ‘perplexed petals/drooling off the stem‘ and feel ‘the gentle touch/of broken cobweb.../ towing hitch-hike spiders/with trapeze ease. Crucially, Neal also succeeds in tugging at our emotions. The image of the ‘magic and laughter‘ shop ‘all boarded up‘ because ‘Abracadabra Man/had passed on‘ brings a lump to the throat, as do the pictures of the desolate abandoned lovers: one burning, in photo form, ‘what‘s left/of us‘, then ‘scrabbl[ing]/in the flames to rescue./the last picture posed‘; the other standing ‘like a Punch without/a Judy on a rain-lashedfbeach at Llandudno‘. But this is not all serious stuff; Neal can also raise a smile or chuckle. eg the slapstick hilarity of Uncle ldwal‘s exploding shed, and the quirky comedy of the poet‘s mother putting library books in the oven ‘to kill the germs that borrowers have left‘. Overall, this is a skilfully crafted work from a gifted and sensitive writer who takes little snippets of being and feeling, and imbues them with new life on the page. Poetry is notoriously difficult to sell, but this is a very easy book to like.