Now this is exactly what I'm talking about. Did I say you could review real books? No. Let this be a lesson to you. WRONG! So do not do it again. Thank you.

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary- a review

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Various Authors)

This exhaustive anthology of absurdist poetry is an overwhelming though ultimately rewarding read. A collaborative work by an autonomous arts collective based in Oxford, the Dictionary is a challenging assault upon our senses and sensibilities, a landmark achievement for conceptual art.

Opening the book and flicking through it's pages one is immediately confronted by list upon list of disjointed stanzas that bring to mind the cut-up writing of Burroughs. There are literally thousands of short poems here, all presented alphabetically under suitably minimalist chapter headings (such as 'A', 'G' and the particularly memorable 'K', for example). The works follow a simplistic formula, brutally mocking the constraints of bourgeois literary convention. Beginning with a simple, solemn one word announcement, often followed by a nonsensical mocking in a strange tribal tongue, the poem is completed with a few lines of vividly descriptive prose.

The power of this approach is well demonstrated in the haunting 'Maisonette' -

'maisonette (may-zon-et)' n. 1 a small house. 2 part of a house (usually not all on one floor) let or used separately as a self-contained dwelling.'

Breathtaking. The obsessive attention to detail and definition neatly satirizes the compulsive need for information so prevalent in contemporary society. Meaning is compartmentalised, separate yet co-joined, often cross-referenced yet never fully experienced. The cumulative effect is to emphasise the banality and futility of existence, the materialist literally forced to choke on his desires as all of life is presented with the relentless triviality of a shopping list.

The Oxford Collective have produced a dangerous and provocative work, by no means easy reading, but essential none-the-less .

Gerald Smoading