In Nuncle Music, a sequence of monologues “spoken” by the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Gareth Reeves presents the psychodrama of an artist forced into the service of tyranny.
“It isn’t easy for a poet to keep faith with Shostakovich, for whom words solved nothing, whose resort was music and, beyond that, self-defeatingly and only in imagination, silence. Reeves does just that.” – Gillian Allnutt
Though the terror and intrigue of Soviet life haunt the poetry, acerbic wit and mischief are also present: Hamlet farts through a flute, Stalin plays the triangle, and up in space cosmonaut Gagarin sings a song by Shostakovich of “intergalactic platitudes.”
Barrie Ormsby’s drawings provide a vivid accompaniment to the poems. The book is published by Carcanet, and currently can be ordered for the pre-publication price of £8.00 by entering the code NUNCLE at the checkout.
In a podcast recorded for READ last year, Gareth can be heard reading some of his poems from his collection To Hell with Paradise, which includes an extract from Nuncle Music.
Gareth will be reading more from Nuncle Music as part of Durham Book Festival on 18th October, in the beautiful setting of Durham Cathedral, where he will be joined by pianist Edward Cheesman and painter Barrie Ormsby.