Book Review: Vague Wisdom by Will Vigar

Book Review: Vague Wisdom by Will Vigar

By Anita Foxall

Will Vigar’s new poetry collection, Vague Wisdom, should be top of your shopping list  if you are looking for a good poetry book. 

It is rich in images and memories, some borrowed from art and cinema, some very personal.

Poetry has always been present in his life, though he states: “There have been times when it’s played very little part of my life, but I’ve always sought out the poetic.”

Will won a poetry competition at school, which he says was highly pilfered from Nostradamus and Space:1999, but despite this achievement he pretty much left poetry for a while and focused on being a lyricist for various bands, though that never left him completely happy, as he felt they were always somewhat incomplete.

He then went to university as a mature student to do a Fine Art degree influenced by Jenny Holzer, and this is when he started producing works that were based around words. 

Will liked unexpected dreamlike poetry and created an installation that featured two video screens displaying pre-written or found poetic clauses. This was where poetry became a real presence in his life again. 

He continued his studies, completed a master’s degree in creative writing, and has just finished a PhD in the same. 

Will has now produced two poetry books, an anthology and a couple of pamphlets. 

He self-published all but the second of the books, Vague Wisdom, which has been published by The London Magazine Editions.

The London Magazine has been incredibly supportive, publishing some of his poems over the last few years, and they eventually offered to publish a full book, which was obviously an unrefusable offer when they have published authors such as Shelley, Hazlitt, Keats , Eliot, Auden.

Vague Wisdom

Will Vigar warns his readers right at the start that Vague Wisdom may just be ‘a beautiful pack of lies’, but if that is the case then they are lies you will definitely enjoy experiencing through his marvellous writing, and the imagery reflected in some of the stories. 

You are carried along sometimes nostalgic, sometimes witty, sometimes melancholic memories.

The collection is divided into four parts. 

In part one we are guided through past memories across the four seasons. It all starts with a storm, but how its lights are conceived as pretty by the eyes of the child (Sub Love), and then come some more family memories filled with encaptivating imagery (Dynevor Road and Bladder). There are also some hints of Poe hiding in the shadows of a further autumn storm (The Attic Room). This section then ends with a poem I loved, My Ex in Anger, where a vengeful ex sees their plan backfire, and instead provide a feast for nature.

Part two is more observational and we move in space, as we are graced by different surroundings. It is very rich in sound, and sometimes the obvious lack of it, as well as images that come across as paintings.

I would like to highlight the beautiful Felix and Fingal, where the composer and his music piece become one within the poem, evoking poets and artists.

Part three (which interestingly is called Four for Four) starts with a dialogue in polari and starts with an explanation of the theme and structure. This piece depicts the safe code that needed to be used after the HIV crisis of 1980 when the gay community had to protect themselves – even with the way they communicated, thus this safe code.

The following piece in this part is called Learning Shame and Anger in the Middle of a Moral Panic, which so clearly demonstrates the fear of transparency of being in places that used to be comfort and now has their doors locked.

Part four takes us to Vague Wisdom, for maybe towards this end we may have achieved some. Some poems in this part are influenced by other forms of art, bursting with detailed images.

It is a very accomplished exquisite collection, with a lot of clever references from literature, music, art and cinema. To be enjoyed slowly, making sure you take time with each poem, so that it can be experienced to its fullest.


Video Playlist

Lunar Tattoos 

Vague Wisdom

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