Here’s the jacket copy for my new book, coming out in a few weeks:
These poems take aim at some monsters of our present bad times, among them Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Theresa May, George Osborne, Benjamin Netanyahu, and assorted hangers-on. These politicians act as if they have said to themselves, like Milton’s Satan, ‘Evil, be thou my good’. They are held to account here in verse-forms that are tight and sharply focused despite the intense pressure of feeling behind them. The satire is unsparing and the dominant tone one of anger mixed with sorrow and a vivid sense of the evils and suffering brought about by corruptions of political office. The influence of Brecht is visible throughout, as is that of W.H. Auden’s mordant verse-commentary on politics and culture in the 1930s, along with the great eighteenth-century verse-satirists Dryden, Pope and Swift.
Norris leaves the reader in no doubt that we now face a global and domestic neo-fascist resurgence that won’t be defeated unless by concerted action on the part of left activists across borders of every sort.
If we could learn to look instead of gawking,
We’d see the horror in the heart of farce,
If only we could act instead of talking,
We wouldn’t always end up on our arse.
This was the thing that nearly had us mastered;
Don’t yet rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.
(Bertolt Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,
trans. George Tabori)