British poet and playwright Alan Parry’s debut poetry chapbook, Neon Ghosts, is a collection of vignettes of a distant and unattainable America – ‘that Stuart Davis knew’ – shot through a distinctly British lens. This is paired with an introspection and a longing for youth and lost relationships. Parry confronts death, criminal lust and love here and does so with a staccato nimbleness. This collection paints images we will all recognise from social osmosis and our own individual films.
To discuss Parry’s style is to focus on its sparsity. His poems are brief, fleeting moments, observations of life through hotel windows and letterboxes. He has a canniness to hook us with almost nothingness, and seemingly wants to give us more, but there just isn’t the time. Parry says of his own work that, his poems ‘introduce you to characters, or warped representations of people I have known, and usually, they will be doing nothing of any note’. With this is mind, Neon Ghosts, becomes an attempt to document life as he sees it – banal and compelling in equal measure.
Mari Elis Dunning, author of Salacia, said, ‘The poems in Neon Ghosts reveal a longing for human connection and an internal struggle between the primal and the domestic. They are poised to take flight, ‘plotting escape – somewhere different,’ – the wide streets of Paris, the America Stuart Davis knew, or Havana, ‘punctured by the lilt of jazz guitars.’ There is a depth of musicality in Alan Parry’s debut, which is concerned with a desire to return to the past, when trees whispered to one another and knots of green and mulberry ensorcelled a small child.’