‘It’s a skilful writer indeed who can combine elements both heartbreaking and hilarious: Brookes is that writer.’ – Robert Minhinnick (2018 Wales Book of the Year winner)
‘J.Brookes is unafraid to say profound things, but in an unexpected context and with a wry humour.’ – Shenagh Pugh
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New & Selected Poems, brings together the best of Brookes from four books and booklets, published from the early 90s: 43 Poems, The Dresden Cantata, Book, and More Last Poems and some new editions.
Brookes handles with confidence and purpose poems both as neat and revealing as a mathematical equation, and poems that trip down the page on their rhymes. His subjects are as various as the world, often funny, in all the senses of the word, always unsentimental, each carefully observed and valued, whether a noisy cafe, model boats on a lake, or a neighbour dying in a hospital bed.
The ex-editor of The Yellow Crane, (‘the Beano of poetry magazines’), J. Brookes was born in London in 1951 and enjoyed a ramshackle early life, hitching around and sleeping in hedges. Like many who take poems seriously, he began writing as a result of reading poetry happy to see if he could do it in any plausible way. He lives in Cardiff, where he reads and swans round on the bus