Excellent Enigmas

Christopher Reid

  • Lies and Secrets by John Fuller
    Secker, 70 pp, £3.50, October 1980, ISBN 0 436 16753 0
  • Crossing by John Matthias
    Anvil, 125 pp, £3.25, October 1980, ISBN 0 85646 035 4
  • Growing Up by Michael Horovitz
    Allison and Busby, 96 pp, £4.95, October 1980, ISBN 0 85031 232 9
  • Report to the Working Party. Asylum. Otiose [preceded by] After by Anthony Barnett
    Nothing Doing, 121 pp, £4.80, August 1980, ISBN 0 901494 17 8

Doubts, prevarications, velleities, different kinds of inability to act: these are the overt themes of many of the poems in John Fuller’s inventive new volume. The title, Lies and Secrets, does not belong to any one poem, but is a warning that no statement found in the book should be relied on either for straightforwardness or for a disclosure of the whole truth. Stories are narrated by characters who may be cagey, volatile, fanciful, captious, even self-deceiving. In the past, John Fuller has been a cunning contriver of riddles on a small scale, but here the design is grander. The verse is protean and the reader, like Neoptolemos, must grapple with fickle forms until the plain truth stands revealed.

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