"A devastatingly powerful collection... Brilliantly written, acerbic satire."
Disability Arts Online
Tan Raptures comprises four mini-collections. Green Tinder
puts Troika-shackled Greece in sharp relief against its ancient democracy; the Runnymede Diggers are juxtaposed with their 17th century harbingers; Los Indignados, with the ill-fated leftist Loyalists of Thirties Spain. Solon, Lilburne, Winstanley and Caudwell are some luminaries exhumed. Red Wilderness includes paeans to past radical figures, such as ‘Joe Hill’, ‘Wal’ Hannington, and "Red Vicar of Thaxted" Conrad Noël. Coventry Blue charts Tory domination of British politics, but also commemorates the Attlee hiatus and the didactic thrift of Pelican books. Tan Raptures transports us back to the present day of food banks, “poor doors”, “homeless spikes”, and the tragic “Wrag” fatalities of Tory “welfare reform”. The eponymous polemical poem confronts the social catastrophe of the benefit cuts, and pernicious Tory “something for nothing” rhetoric and hyperbolic red-top “scrounger” propaganda that brainwashed the British public into complicity. It is a verse-intervention of Social Catholicism, as epitomised by Pope Francis, in opposition to self-proclaimed ‘Roman Catholic’ Iain Duncan Smith’s despotic six year grip at the DWP. The title Tan Raptures plays on the biblical notion of ‘The Rapture’ –the ‘raising up’ of believers to meet their maker in the sky– satirising the ubiquitous ‘tan envelopes’ that strike fear into claimants as passports to a twisted Tory notion of ‘salvation’ through “sanction”.
Alan Morrison is rare among his generation on the current British poetry scene; he’s a properly provocative poet whose commitment to the ideas of socialism is passionate, erudite and convincingly argued. As befits a poet of the left, he’s angered by injustice of all kinds and writes intelligent polemic. Yet Morrison is not simply a ‘political’ poet in the narrow sense, he can be lyrical, humorous and inventive too. I hope he will be as widely and appreciatively read as he deserves. Alexis Lykiard