By Don Paterson

“Contentious, impolite, hilarious, relocating, and fair. A booklet you’ll dip into for the remainder of your life.” —Ian RankinThe male genitals are worn externally as evolution is within the means of expelling them from the physique. one other million years and they’ll be saved in a drawer. The award-winning Scottish poet Don Paterson has assembled a comic book, clever, and cranky choice of short truths and conjectures and, within the procedure, revitalizes the vintage pith of the aphorism. “The form’s simply advantage is its brevity,” Paterson writes; “at least the reader can't heavily carry that it has wasted their time.”

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Example text

Surely we're more air and fire now than ever. � B. thinks and talks on his feet more brilliantly than anyone I know. I'm always consoled by the reflection that this facility has had the effect of eroding, to the point of extinction, any allegiance he had ever felt to the truth. � In all art, the function of the ego is to drive you to the gig, then keep the van ticking over while you perform without it. Those who fail to do so are easy to identify: they all shake. � The only pure suicide is self-strangulation; everything else requires the world as an accomplice.

This is unthinkable in poetry, yet more often than not? the reader is left dry-eyed and perfectly indifferent. But to have felt nothing, and still devastate an audience; that sensation is probably as close to divinity as we will get. � Man is only a biological interlude in a much longer narrative, but knowing the fact of his intermediacy between the mineral and the bodiless seraphim makes his condition a sentence, a term. No wonder we count the days the way we do. � Cioran talks of the shame of not being a musician.

Aphorisms all turn out so... generic; they all sound as if they were delivered by the same disenfranchised, bad- tempered minor deity. � The aphorism is the rational articulation of a fleeting hysteria. � S. has written a comprehensive book of aphorisms. even those on which he had no opinion, until that very moment. � How many aphorists does it take to change a lightbulb? How many aphorists does it take to change a lightbulb? And so on with our little antipoetry, our ear to the strongbox of the line while we work the combinations, trying the italics on one word, then the next, until we hear something weaken inside...

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