A Modern Don Juan, ed. Andy Croft & N.S. Thompson (Five Leaves, £14.99)

Modern Don Juan

I
A book judged by its cover, this one’s cute:
…..Byron on the phone. Judged by its pages
(A whopping three hundred and fifty), it’s a beaut –
…..The best epic narrative poem in ages,
Co-written by fifteen poets of good repute.
…..Their versifying excites, provokes, engages
As they resurrect Lord Byron’s anti-hero.
He’s not changed much. Morals still count for zero.

II
The neat conceit behind these ribald rhymes
…..Is a case of o tempora … wotsit? … mores:
The book reflects the hours and the times
…..As our anti-hero romps through fifteen stories
Set in the present day. These modern climes
…..Are taken in his stride as Don Juan forays
Between London, Amsterdam and Budapest
While a spell in prison puts him to the test.

III
Elsewhere, our mad bad lad is quite tech-savvy
…..(Via internet he lines up all his lays)
While another tale subverts his cocksure happy-
…..go-lucky bed-hopping escapades –
Through his interactions with another chap, he
…..Seems to be a Don who swings both ways.
But whichever conquest appears to him like Venus,
The book’s more than just One Man and His … Libido.

IV
Satirical, artful: this book’s the cream – a
…..A cornucopia of style and wit,
Reinventing Juan as DJ, statesman, schemer,
…..Likeable rough diamond, total git.
Rendered in dodgily rhymed ottava rima,
…..Folks, you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
The cover price couldn’t be a fairer deal.
A quid per canto: lovely! It’s a steal.

Neil Fulwood

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