'You must t take me at my word, / you must take me at my lack of word, / you must take me at my music.' In Nuncle Music, a sequence of mologues 'spoken' by the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Gareth Reeves presents the psychodrama of an artist forced into the service of tyranny. Though the terror and intrigue of Soviet life haunt the poetry, acerbic wit and mischief are also here: Hamlet farts through a flute, Stalin plays the triangle, and up in space cosmonaut Gagarin sings a song by Shostakovich of 'intergalactic platitudes'. Barrie Ormsby's drawings provide a vivid accompaniment to Reeves' poems.
Gareth Reeves was an undergraduate at Oxford and graduate student at Stanford, where he also held a Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship. Until recently he was Reader in English at Durham University, where he ran an MA creative writing course in poetry. Carcanet have published two of his previous poetry collections, Real Stories (1984) and Listening In (1993). He is also the author of two books on T.S. Eliot, a book about the 1930s poets and many essays on nineteenth and twentieth-century poetry.