Oyster Boy Review 18  
  Winter 2003–4
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250 Grams of Poetry, by Spike Hawkins

Jeffery Beam

250 Grams of Poetry.
Spike Hawkins.
Harwood Academic Publishers, 2001.
48 pages, 1 disc, $50 (hardcover & CD-ROM).
ISBN: 905755142X

Spike Hawkins is as notably unknown in the United States as Thomas is famous, and yet Hawkins boasts a large underground following. Poet Jonathan Williams championed him in his latest book of essays Blackbird Dust. Now Harwood offers a magical collection of Hawkins's few, laconic, wry, silly, and piercingly satiric poems. Hawkins burst into flame during the Liverpool Poets movement of the 1960s and became loosely associated with the Beats. Such a startling talent needs more distribution and unfortunately the exorbitant price of this tome will do little to introduce him to the public he deserves. The book is beautifully made and the accompanying CD a treasure. To at last hear Hawkins recite my favorite of his poems "Boiler" from "Four Pig Poems" in his raspy, drug- and nicotine-saturated Liverpoolese reduces one to instant guffaws. Ask your local library to order this one and borrow a sound proof booth. Only England could have produced such a luminous eccentric: "Pig sit still in the strainer / Pig sit still in the strainer / I must have my Pig tea." You've got to hear it to believe it.