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Trouble in the Heartland

Trouble in the Heartland

by Joel Lane

Trouble in the Heartland is Joel Lane's second book of poetry. Like his first collection, The Edge of the Screen (Arc, 1999), it focuses on the only too familiar aspects of modern urban life and decay - violence, loneliness, alcoholism, drug abuse - his clear, incisive narratives and vivid images laced with political invective and satire. Its first section, 'Hard Copy', deals with some of the realities - and ideological distortions - of contemporary life in the West Midlands, and in a society that is at much at war with its own possibilities as it is at war with other nations. Its second section, 'Solo Flight', uses the theme of loneliness to explore friendship, mental disturbance and desire. The final section, 'Common Ground', deals with the elements of a shared identity and a sense of belonging. Trouble in the Heartland argues that we need to use all our resources - knowledge, imagination and feeling - to find constructive strategies for living in critical times. It also pays tribute to the resources of pragmatic intelligence, scepticism and sardonic wit that define West Midlands culture.

Despite the bleakness and violence of the subject matter, these poems are precise, perceptive and, at times, beautiful. ... he endows the city''s grit with grace.

Saturday Guardian Poetry Review, October 2005

Joel Lane's sensual, elegiac, urban poetry has a sweet clarity

Carol Ann Duffy

...one of Thatcher''s children, who looks with something approaching despair at his inheritance. [These are] strong and angry poems...there is a real and stimulating wit...a lovely vision of a momentary tranquillity...

Roundyhouse, 17 January 2006

He may be a poet of urban decay but he portrays that world powerfully and vividly. ...poetry as a form of salvation.

Ambit 182

72 Pages
ISBN 1-900072-99-8
Published November 2004