A number of years back, our author went to seek out a book by some ancient Greek thinker – the name starting with an L, or perhaps a C – called On Delight of the Nature of Things, or maybe In Delight at the Nature of Things. Either way, it turned out the book didn’t exist. Our author found lots of stuff on measuring the circumference and mass of the planet Earth, and lots of pages about salt, dirt and water, but not the book that she was looking for.
So, in the end, she decided to write the book herself. And here it is, or at least a start on it: eighty-five everyday objects, concerns and states scrutinised, given a voice really, and which together make up On Delight of the Nature of Things, or In Delight at the Nature of Things, or, more simply, Santiago.
'Idiosyncratic, bright as new paint, at times enigmatic, at times as clear as water, Cheryl Follon's Santiago is a collection – are they prose poems? are they vignettes? – unexpected and colourful as contemporary life, vivid with dailiness, packed with unusual but strangely accessible ways of looking. It is a world in which a museum sapphire, considering, or a well’s surface reflecting the faces of onlookers, have things to say to us, and in which subjects various as blood, Hanoi, a grasshopper, and an exquisitely bored Sultan mingle in enlivening juxtaposition. In a poetry culture frequently hamstrung by political correctness and a sense of the worthy it is also, that increasingly rare thing, an entertaining book.' – Gerry Cambridge
‘…a wonderfully zany and pleasurable journey… Pure poetry.’ – Hayden Murphy, The National [on Santiago]
'Delight is clear in this collection. It is surprising, fun and funny, colourful and vibrating with energy. Its accessibility is one of the keys to its power; in just a few lines, Follon gets right to the crux. But the real genius for me is the lightness of touch. There is no sense of working through or finding a way. Idea and poem arrive simultaneously on the page. Immaculate.' - Alison Craig, The Bottle Imp [on Santiago]
‘I hope that by now the wit as well as audacity of this collection should be evident, the sheer pleasure it offers. …Go through the book too fast and you’ll miss a lot. Don’t read it at all and you’ll miss a treat. As soon as you step inside its pages you’re in “a kind of surprise party” (‘Light’), albeit one where you may encounter such cautionary horrors as “the man in the bloody apron and the vats of scorpion fudge”. You will never look at the world in quite the same way again.’ - A C Clarke, Glasgow Review of Books [on Santiago]