Ray Webber's remarkable poems speak in a unique voice.
It's one that challenges, amuses, inspires and sometimes even scares.
It's a voice that always leaves you feeling that you've experienced something out of the ordinary, even something extraordinary. Do the poems express anger? Yes, sometimes. Scepticism? Sure. Are they tender? Surprisingly so. The one quality Ray Webber's poems never exude is bitterness.
Sartre's 'Spirit of Seriousness' never infects the work, but that doesn't mean it's not serious.
The vile, the stupid, the insane, the ludicrous - many of the hideous aspects of life - are embraced along with the virtuous and the good. The phrases, philosophies often explode from the page in a word-splattered poetic drive-by.
Elsewhere there are tender, elegant, wistful expressions of regret, longing, missed opportunities, fading powers, hopelessness born of experience, but Ray's Poetry House is never bleak.
His literary influences range from Anna Akhmatova, Charles Bukowski, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Frank O'Hara, ee Cummings, Shakespeare and the King James Bible to the the dark musings of Paul Celan.Utimately his greatest influence is the world he has lived in - the slums of his childhood; unemployment riots; paternal imprisonment; anarchist childminders; Hitler and Mussolini's headkicks; the estates he's seen rise, decay and crumble into pits of anti-social behaviour, and occasional defiance; the cider houses where no-one rules; the fall of Communism; the liberating unzipping of the 1960s; the burst balloons of idealism; social upheaval; broken hearts and broken people; trauma and - most of all - survival.