‘I’ve already submitted my Pineapple Prize nomination via Twitter. I’ve chosen Leontia Flynn’s third poetry collection Profit and Loss which was published in September 2011 by Cape Poetry.
There are two reasons for my nomination. The most obvious of these is that this is a text my thesis will be looking at, so I’ve spent more time studying it in the past months than I have looking at any other recent publication. The other reason is that it is really very good.
The book is divided into three sections. The first, subtitled ‘A Gothic’, is composed of 29 short(ish) poems which address everything from family tragedy to receiving unsolicited pornography in the mail. As you might guess, then, some of these poems are humourous, some are dark, and some are darkly humourous. The second section is a 11 page poem ‘Letter to Friends’, the first long poem of Flynn’s career. This takes its subject from moving house and addresses a variety of modern issues in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. The final section is more delicate and seems a little overshadowed by its proximity to the sensory overload of ‘Letter to Friends’. However, the ‘versions’ of Catullus and but it is considered and at times brilliant.
You don’t have to take my word alone on this matter. Fran Brearton says that ‘Profit and Loss is a serious book, engaged with the world in which we live; and it is engaging too – thoughtful, prescient and eminently readable’. Amanda Claire Eades acknowledges that ‘[t]here is something special in the pages of Profit and Loss […] This is a collection that has depth and confidence, without ever being tangled in poetic technique: Flynn impresses without trying.’
And, since @MarkAnthonyOwen has also nominated Profit and Loss, Flynn is surely a strong contender for our inaugural Pineapple Prize.’
Alex Pryce, University of Oxford