The Lilac Thief by Young Dawkins

Book Review by Nat Smith | 25 Mar 2010
Book title: The Lilac Thief
Author: Young Dawkins


The Lilac Thief is a collection of Young Dawkins’ spoken word beat poetry. Normally that description would indicate two strikes against – there is plenty of awful beat poetry, and spoken word poetry rarely works as well on the page as the stage. But this collection overcomes those problems admirably. Dawkins’ poems are simply written –which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re simple in meaning – and this means he avoids going anywhere near the over-wordy stereotype that typifies bad beat poems. Instead, his poetry showcases how good beat can be. His command of rhythm powers these poems, and it’s strong enough to make them leap off the page, perhaps conveying their spoken word roots, but doing so in a way that makes them come alive. These are poems that are too well crafted to die in print. Some highlights are the title poem, a clever fable of floral kleptomania, and – perhaps most appropriate to local readers – The Emperor of Scotland, a sweeping saga of Scots' future happiness with, of course, a twist. It’s a short collection, running to under 50 pages, and these short poems leave room for lots more. But that’s a small criticism of a very evocative collection of clever poetry. [Nat Smith]


Out now. Published by Sargent Press. Cover price £6.15