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Heavy Baggage

John Masepiece-Tanqueray earlier in life when leaning heavily was "less problematical".

Theadbone Modern Poetry editor Mrs Amanda J Threadbone has announced the publication of a major new poem by John Masepiece-Tanquerey - perhaps the "most distinguished Dorset poet of his generation". It is the first poetic offering to emerge from the Threadbone Press for over 10 years. Not content with that milestone alone, however, Mrs Threadbone has also written a personal Foreword to the work, in which she acknowledges the "shattering impact" which its model and predecessor - Masepiece-Tanqueray's earlier "Cargoes" - had on her much younger and more impressionable self.

"It came", she explained, "at an important time in my life when I was at Boarding School in Australia, experiencing feelings and sensations down under I had not encountered before and was struggling to understand and control". Did we detect a small tear of remembrance or perhaps regret in her moist eyes as she faced the assembled ranks of journalists and literary giants?*

* The star-studdied event was attended by Rowena Westlake [in the person of Orwena Kawelste], Neva Laida-Fingerona, Polly Anthus and Emma Roid amongst others. and the answer to the ridiculous question posed is: almost certainly not.

Professor Thrupiece's Songs of Impotence and Expediency was the last major offering in the Threadbone Press's Modern Poetry series. Disappointing sales - despite a major publicity drive in co-operation with organisations dedicated to helping fellow sufferers - silenced the poetry presses for more than a decade

Having acknowleged in the past that poems “just don’t sell” and that no-one - including [and especially] those studying for the BA in English at the University of Afpuddle - “reads them anymore” - co-host, former Threadbone Poetry Managing Editor and well-known "Queen of Remaindering" - Tiny Inven-Tourée - acknowledged that she had vowed in 2010 that the reprint of Professor Thrupiece’s [1993] poetical anthology “Songs of Impotence and Expediency” would be the last to roll off the once versically fecund Threadbone presses, but nevertheless expressed delight in the appearance of the new ultra-slim forest-saving volume**.

** Biographical Note: By 1993 Professor Thrupiece's "problems in this area" were well known. He had bravely "revealed all" to chart show host Russell Hardly-Matters. Though “Songs of Impotence and Expediency” was his way of "working through these difficult issues", he attributed his recovery to his many hours in the firm hand of MS Shelley-Lulette Sizemore.

The new poem - the first in almost 20 years from 110-year-old John Masepiece-Tanqueray whose classic Cargoes was once familiar to every Dorset schoolboy and school girl - is widely touted as being [unlike its author] "one for the modern age"***. In it, the close to senile versifier arrestingly substitutes images of motorised vehicles for the sea-going vessels of the original. “As the automobile slips into oblivion, it would seem appropriate” the poet's spokesperson explained, “to commemorate its passing with a few well-chosen words". "Sadly this is proving a challenge too far for Mr Masepiece-Tanqueray and he and his amanuensis have put together this load of old c**p instead".

*** Should that be the postmodern age [Ed]. Absolutely not [Literary Sub Ed]

In a barely disguised piece of marketing puff designed, critics believe, to airbrush the "thin gruel" offered in the 16 page - six stanza - volume, The Threadbone Press claim that the author has written the following apologia pro poemata meo, making the case for its "unquestioned importance": "Though I have not followed the pattern of my earlier poem poem slavishly, I have tried to recapture some of its spirit, rhythm and cadential characteristics in the hope that it will achieve the same instant memorability and correspondingly high sales. Care does not come cheap these days and I have no wish to die forgotten and in penury. I am content to leave it at forgotten".

Finding far more merit in the presention of the materials than in the poem itself, one leading Literary Critic has sugested that the lavish edition "serves up a pile of s**t" but is "beatifully cooked", an acolade with which Threadstone Bookstore buyer-in-chief Selma Stock fully concurs. "It's an attractive enough volume in itself and it certainly graces our shelves, but our staff are not falling over each other to make it their book of the month", she said.

As to authorship, is it possible that Mr Masepiece-Tanqueray should not be identified as the sole author as the inside flap of the new volume insists or indeed of the rematks attributed to him today? Some are deeply sceptical. As one such, who wishes to remain anonymous, has said: "Take one look at him and you'd have to say: not". The identity of his so-called amanuensis remains shrouded in mystery today, though Dorset Casino are offering sharp odds on a well-known and life-long Masepiece-Tanqueray fan - a certain lady whose offical business address is to be found somewhere in the Great Heaving area ...

CARGOES ANCIENT & MODERN: A POETICAL JUXTAPOSITION is published on 14 December 2021 by The Threadbone Press Ltd, a dicvision of The Threadbone Corporation

Download your exclusive Advanced Proof Copy HERE

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