‘“I never/did anything with much oomph” declares the speaker of Roberto Pastore's poem “The Incoming.” It's an interesting statement, because the poet's debut collection, Hey Bert, does everything with oomph. The language of the poems cracks and fizzles with energy and, from the opening “Salutation”, the poet proves himself adept at dragging the reader by the collar into his world. Humour and a spoken immediacy smash up against a great lyricism in poems which are vibrant and alive. This book won't lie quietly on a shelf: open it and a human being leaps out, drinking oat milk, speculating on the nature of time, offering memories, saying Hey. It's a pleasure to meet him, and a joy to read these poems.’ – Jonathan Edwards
'Bert's writing, quite simply, makes me happy. Jealous but happy.' – Crystal Jeans
‘Wow. One of the best things I've read in a long time […] Bert is clearly a deliciously fresh and exciting talent, you’ve unearthed a diamond there ... I thought it was ace.’ – Rhian Elizabeth
In the Reviews:
'...an impressive debut ... This is profound poetry, spiritual and wise and while engaging with difficult themes (life often being a difficult business) it does so with grace and some humour.' – Frances Spurrier, Wales Arts Review
Hey Bert is a clarion call to open our eyes a little bit wider, of poetry’s capacity to find new ways of looking at our own lives. Poems that speak intensely of the everyday, of nostalgia, friendship and love, the body, the sacred, all seen through Pastore’s unique, eccentric filter of spirit animals, pop-culture, dreams and astrology.
Evoking John Giorno, Anne Waldman, and Julia Heyward, Pastore’s work draws from performance art, confessional poetry, mantra, and folklore to create a voice both fiercely contemporary and somehow out of time.
Roberto Pastore studied in Carlisle, Cumbria, where he participated in the renowned Speakeasy spoken word scene. A chapbook of his poetry, The Dumb Supper, was released by Freerange Poetry, in 2008. Roberto lives in Cardiff, where he works as a school crossing guard.