Design a site like this with
Get started

Review of ‘My C&A Years’ by Roger Waldron

One of the features of poetry to which poets aspire is a distinctive voice; to write poetry that the reader recognises could only have been written by that poet. It does not take long, when reading My C&A Years (Dreich 2022) to realise that Roger Waldron’s poetry has achieved that unique voice and that is has an inimitable perspective on the world.

The first poem in this pamphlet, Fly on the kitchen worktop, is typical. Waldron writes: ‘I’ve just swotted/  a fly with a Poetry Book/  Society Recommendation/ I know   you would/  understand my actions   if/   I told you it was my last act/   on a rather stressful day.’ Note the conversational, anecdotal tone: there is a sense of familiarity here. Waldron assumes a personal acquaintance with his reader, he expects us to understand where he is coming from. Equally characteristic is the fact that Waldron gives this inconsequential moment significance. The poem describes the swatting of a fly: a momentary loss of control to relieve the stresses of the day, something surely, we can all relate to. Yet it is more than that, for the narrator significantly uses a ‘Poetry Book Society Recommendation’ as his weapon. The effect of this choice is to mock the reverence with which such selections are held, an idea reinforced by the narrator’s need to seek understanding for this show of disrespect. Perhaps Waldron is also signalling the fact that when reading his collection we shouldn’t expect the densely layered, complex, sombre verse that often earns itself recognition by the PBS. This is poetry that will make the reader smile because of its irreverence and because of its ability to make us recognise aspects of ourselves.

Like the best comedians Waldron delights in playing with language and he times his punchlines to perfection. I loved some of his titles such as My Yoga teacher puts me in a difficult position and Fair is Fare which are jokes in themselves. However, it’s ‘the way he tells them’ that brings out the humour. Take for example, the beautifully constructed Fighting Talk. Initially he lures the reader in with his account of his imminent wrongful arrest, eliciting our sympathy for the injustice he is about to suffer because of the ‘tap room boys’ wrongful accusation: ‘a woman from the best/ side  has phoned to tell/  me  there’s been a scuffle/ outside The Monkey  and/ the tap room boys have/  given the police my description.’ Our concern is then moderated by the woman’s apparently altruistic offer of sanctuary for ‘three or four days’, an altruism which is instantly undermined by her innuendo ‘don’t/ bring your jimjams’ that leads to the wonderfully bathetic climax: ‘I opened a can/ waited on the settee for the boys/ in blue to throw me a line.’ Waldron is masterful here in the way in which he plays with the reader’s expectations with comic effect.

This is observational humour at its best: the humour of recognition. Waldron catches those unguarded moments that betray our weaknesses; he observes and reports the embarrassing that we would rather not admit to; he exposes those frailties that make us human. For example, The Sweet Smell of Failure is a cautionary tale which shows the romantic consequences of not changing one’s underpants regularly;  Digging in my Archives explores a life of pretensions; Valentines Day tells of a major romantic failure; and Shop (lift) Local exposes the limitations of our moral compass when we’re offered a bargain. There is something of us all in these poems. In his drop-in Waldron describes the imagined persona narrating the poems as a ‘37-year-old man’. Yet there is something universal about these poems. When we laugh at him, we are laughing at ourselves, man, or woman. In fact, there is something of ‘Everyman’ about these poems, but without the moral imperative!

One of the things I love about poetry is that it is such a varied form. My C&A Years is quite different to any collection I have reviewed in the last three years and is yet another example of the talent uncovered by Jack Caradoc of Dreich. If you like Brian Bilston or Murray Lachlan Young I think Waldron may be the poet for you. Even if you are not familiar with such work, give My C&A Years a go. You are bound to be entertained and you might just have to admit to something you’d prefer not to about yourself.

Roger Waldron thinks he lives on the edge of razzmatazz when in reality he lives in Sheffield and has travelled. He has a had a job. His love for spouting poetry from broken settees knows no boundaries. He has no desire to ever wear slip=on shoes. My C&A Years can be obtained from for £5.

It’s that time of year again! This blog which features a regular two week cycle of drop-ins and reviews was started to publicise the work of debut poets and small poetry presses.

Since August 2020 it has attracted 16,000 views and 6,250 visitors. It would be great if you could take the time to support the blog with a nomination for the Saboteur Awards 2023.

To nominate click here or if you don’t like clicking on links, visit Saboteur Awards 2023 website page:

Thank you!


3 thoughts on “Review of ‘My C&A Years’ by Roger Waldron

  1. This is a fantastic review of Roger Waldron’s My C&A Years. The author describes Waldron’s unique voice and clever use of humor that is relatable and makes the reader laugh. The author highly recommends this collection and suggests that even those who are unfamiliar with poetry give it a try. Overall, a great read and highly recommended.
    founder of balance thy life


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: