'Alexa, what is there to know about love?’ is the second collection of his poems published in a less enigmatic format. As the title poem suggests, the collection of fifty poems examine love in our disjointed, superficial times and the urgency with which it is needed.
Comic poetry and current affairs date quickly, and too often lack wider depth of meaning and relevance. The poems in this collection defy that criticism. They are well structured, based on a knowledge of poetry and acute skill. The comic content creatively connects the superficialities of today to enduring realities that get lost in the crave for things simply because they are new. Brian’s knowledge and inclusion of the philosophical and classical gives his poems greater wit and bearing. He parodies Wordsworth using his own lines, précises five classical lovers, views Shakespeare from the remembered perspective of a teenage schoolchild, Plato from the point of view of a frustrated wife and reassembles fragments of the erotica of an ancient Greek poet where its the missing lost lines that imply the sexual. Then a poem takes us leisurely through three postcards sent to a wife. Only at the closing two lines do we connect that she is pregnant and had received the notice of death telegram. It hits like a punch in the stomach, an insight into the commonplace heartbreak of WW1.
Three poems address the question of defining love. ‘Minutes from a Multidisciplinary Symposium on What Is Love?’ outlines the magnificent indefinable nature of love. ‘Love in the Age of Google’ imagines some of the responses the search engine might give. The result is a poem with more than a passing similarity to the late Adrian Henri’s “Love Is”, the comparison to one of Liverpool’s greatest poets both flattering and justified. It finishes –