There is a lot of love in the room for Dean Wilson as he launches his first collection of poetry the snappily titled ‘Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets’. Working with Wrecking Ball Press and Russ Litten the self-confessed ‘fourth best poet in Hull’ first full collection is finally in print.
He was an elusive figure, rarely seen on stage, not one for the burgeoning local scene. There’s a line Dean writes in ‘Hull Hath No Fury Like A Poet Scorned’ that sums up the infighting and petty squabbles ‘I refuse to enter the East Yorkshire Arts Centre after somebody who works there said my poems were shit.’ That same honest voice and directness can be heard throughout the book. Whether it’s window shopping in Doncaster; addressing the lack of tourists in Hornsea or warning of the dangers of deck chairs – brilliantly rhyming ‘chair’ with ‘fing-er’ -Dean’s way with words, eccentricity and glass half-full disposition, is a winning combination.
One of the many reasons for Dean’s appeal is his complete refusal to be tied down by traditions of form and scansion. It’s wonderfully freeing to listen to him gently subverting years of poetic tradition. There’s a touch of the seaside postcard in many of the poems, harmless innuendo and risqué wordplay, punctuate the verse, provoking a smirk, a smile or for the crowd tonight, gales of laughter.
None of the poems are particularly long so you can pick up ‘Sometimes I’m So Happy…’ read a few poems, have a giggle and feel good about the world. Some of the verse is barely four lines, perfectly conveying an emotion, an image or a good joke. Characterised by repetition and syllabic rhyme, Dean’s writing is also peppered with local references, shop and street names, set the scene for everyday dramas to unfold. The passion for place is clearly evident with references to Scarborough, Doncaster, and Withernsea all to be found, along with dear old Hull, Dean’s hometown. His explorations and misadventures – conducted on his days off – read like an alternative guidebook to the North.
‘Every bit as good as Larkin but a million times funnier’
Dave Lee The Guardian : read full quote
Opening the book launch at Kardohmah 94 was club-singer Phil May, singing tracks by ‘Bubble’ and Paul Anka. Dean has paid homage to the Hessle Road crooner by penning ‘Tiger’s Lair’ especially for him. With a selection of country hits, singer Ruth Getz pays homage to the Queens of Country, singing Tammy Wynette, Etta James and Imelda May, some of Dean’s favourites. She finishes a sparkling set, with a playful spin on ‘Jolene’ directed towards Dean sat quaking in the corner awaiting the moment he has to show his face.
Still largely unknown yet – evidenced by tonight’s response – one of Hull’s most-loved writers. Dean Wilson’s star is most certainly ‘on the ascendant’ with the release of ‘Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets’.
Look out for the picture of the attractively hairy man on the front cover in bookshops near you or buy direct from Wrecking Ball Press.
Buy Here: Sometimes I’m So Happy I’m Not Safe On The Streets by Dean Wilson