By (author) MacKenzie, Rob A.
"Today you turn up five habits to quit for happiness: "criticism", "control", "complaint", "excuses", "expectations", without which you'd be happy, bland and unbearable." (from 'Thirteen') Is the attempt to secure happiness worth making? Or is it simply a fast track to inevitable disenchantment? Rob A. Mackenzie confronts such questions in "The Good News", his second full collection, but it's no self-help manual. Fate, faith, travel, love, politics and death are woven into taut, affecting poems, which reveal new layers with every reading: a professional sceptic tries in vain not to become too certain of his own doubt, angels weep in Spanish into their designer coffees, and a hundred Scottish poets are enlisted to articulate the trials and tribulations of their nation at a key point in its history. The book's central section is a sequence concerning autism's effect on family life. Poets have written about autism before, but no one has written anything quite like this. Mackenzie offers a typically versatile collection in style and form, combining an inimitable sensibility and imagination with a secure command of tone.
These poems confirm his growing reputation as one of our most intriguing and alluring voices.