|Unholy Empires Anarchios Press 2008
UNHOLY EMPIRES, Alexis Lykiard's fiercely witty collection deals with what he terms "the 3 Rs" that cast shadow on humanity — rulers, royalists, religionists. In UNHOLY EMPIRES, rhyme and metre are used artfully and memorably to focus some angry yet often hilarious satire.
Earlier poetry collections by Lykiard — including Safe Levels (1990), Skeleton Keys (2003) and Judging By Disappearances (2007) — tackled issues of nuclear catastrophe, civil war and collaboration, sexuality and Aids, feminism versus political correctness, and the current consumer culture. UNHOLY EMPIRES highlights the Iraq invasion and its dire consequences; the poisonous evasions and absurdities of Bush, Blair & Co, alongside late-capitalist decadence and the troubling rise of assorted forms of fundamentalism.
Alexis Lykiard, the "uncompromisingly direct", "mucky bard", also dubbed "the true lineal heir to Rochester and Swift", has remained an independent, concerned but provocative voice. The 'controversial' label has led to censorship or banning of his work in various countries and contexts. Though resolutely anti-political, Lykiard is pleased to have been praised by the Morning Star and vilified by The Sun.
Ted Hughes once described a poetry book by Lykiard as "sharp, cleaving, carving, piercing — bright, sharp, clean stabs." UNHOLY EMPIRES is Alexis Lykiard on top form, hard-hitting as ever.
“Politics and poetry walk shoulder to shoulder in Alexis Lykiard’s excellent new book of poems, Unholy Empires. If you fancy walking with them, take brain, heart and humour – you’ll need all three.” [Trevor Griffiths]
“Your words, as ever, were appreciated.” [Iain Sinclair]
“Glad you still have your anarchic spirit.” [Carole Morin]
“Terrific verve and attack, but it also requires – and will receive – subsequent re-readings.” [Bill Broady]
“A pleasure to read poems that say something and say it clearly.” [Jim Burns]
“A terrific thing to have done.” [John Lucas]
“Public poetry at its very best. Something with satirical punch.” [David Caddy]
“Excellent new book. I am very much enjoying it.” [Hugo Williams]
“Many palpable hits and righteous excoriations.” [Lindsay Clarke]
“The venom of Swift served in metric that’s a to-the-minute blend of Alexander Pope and Rudyard Kipling.” [John Moat]
“Lykiard at his toughest with a poetry that attacks... There is a pleasing anarchist feel to the collection for me... The concentration of Lykiard’s passion about the awfulness of the political and social life of our Western Society is here to feel... A book I am glad to have on my shelves.” [Martin Bax, Ambit]
“A collection of mostly angry and establishment-debunking poetry... Hitting the poetic bulls-eye so often... A book well worth buying for its vigour and readability.” [Kevin Bailey, HQ]
“The splendidly, exuberantly vitriolic Unholy Empires... by one of the few genuine bladesmen left on the satirical front line.” [Nigel Jenkins]
“A wonderfully organised book and an exemplary professional job with terrific intellect & intelligence & literary awareness on display... Great stuff, man!” [Wes Magee]
“They suggest that your true role in life is that of a sort of anti-Poet Laureate... I especially liked your poems on war, journalism and the multiple corruptions of political life.” [Martin Bell]
“Your work has lost none of its snap!” [Lawrence Sail]
“A splendidly barbed book, spiked with Lykiard’s usual saeva indignatio... He writes with precision and wit about the culture of dishonesty that sustains all bloody empires.” [Andy Croft, Morning Star]