Emporium by Ian Pindar
Carcanet Press (ebook), 2011
96 Pages

Poet Website

Amazon (UK)


Emporium, Ian Pindar’s first collection, is stocked with curiosities, jokes and horrors. Step through the door and discover Big Bumperton on his bicycle, Mrs Beltinska in her bath, Monsieur P. on holiday, a transfixed girl in blue jeans, a wasp, two lascivious figs and a god who wanders shopping arcades ‘enhaloed in black flames of longing and dread’. A chain letter travels across centuries of poetry, from Langland to Maxine Chernoff; deep in a snowy forest, seen only by wolves, a mysterious machine is resonating… Pindar maps a surreal hinterland where the dark humour of absurdity lies in wait.


Naked on a bed, the sex in shadow
Not caring if man or woman.

Something of the caged beast, captive, fallow,
Odour of unclean linen.

Darkness beyond everything.
Nothing visible except

Limbs turning, seeking rest,
Arms and legs bending, unbending

Like a puppet examining its joints.
The head moving from side to side

As if struck by invisible fists
From different angles, from inside.

Emporium is an enjoyable collection of poetry. I’ve never read any of Ian Pinder’s work before (not to my knowledge anyway). This was a good introduction to a new poet. I didn’t love the poems but I really enjoyed some of them. The poems that stood out the most for me are Figure Study, On the French Riviera, Society of Blood, Advise for Travellers and Snow. Pinder’s poems are very typical of much contemporary poetry, they contain lots of imagery, sometimes this can be vague or obscure which clouds what the poem or poet is trying to convey. Therein lies the rub. I’m not a huge fan of these types of poem that leave me scratching my head thinking what exactly is the point of all this? Some poems that use this style are brilliant such as There Is a Desert Here by Elizabeth Bartlett and any poem written by Joyce Carol Oates but some are not. The poems in Emporium fall into the latter category with the exception of the poems listed above. I enjoyed reading them but that’s about that. I’ve read poems that touch me so much they move me to tears or stay in my head for years. I didn’t find any examples of these in this collection. The poems are well-written, enjoyable to read and in some cases very funny but I didn’t take anything deeper from them. In the words of Kafka: ‘A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us’. The poems in this collection didn’t succeed in this endeavour and merely chipped away some fragments of my frozen sea. I’d recommend this collection for people who enjoy contemporary poetry.

Poems included:

  • Figure Study
  • Mrs Beltinska in the Bath
  • On The French Riviera
  • Monsters of Philosophy
  • A Dog One Afternoon
  • Society of Blood
  • Anecdote of the Car
  • Marc Chagall the Poet Reclining
  • Parable
  • Advice for Travellers
  • Poem
  • What Is The Matter?
  • Archaeologies
  • Snow
  • The King’s Evil
  • Les Vacances De Monsieur P.
  • Chain Letter
  • Of Truth
  • Suggestions for Further Reading
  • Two Figs
  • The Prophecies
  • Casanova
  • Windows
  • Gods of the Near Future
  • After Birth
  • Big Bumperton on the Sabbath
  • Ashes
  • Death of a Senator
  • Birds
  • Illustrated Evenings
  • Parasite
  • John Miro Man and Woman In Front Of a Pile of Excrement
  • It Takes a Man
  • Everybody’s talking about Antonin Artaud
  • The Wasp and the Orchid
  • Armageddon
  • Black Jelly Baby
  • Kissing
  • Dust
  • Loon
  • Silent Spectres
  • The Rainy Day Murders
  • An Accident in Soho
  • Lost
  • Insomnia
  • Time Remaining




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