Melville Lovatt’s poems tell the tales of regret, relational tensions, second chances and occasional optimism, with nostalgia for ages past, and disappointment with the way things are. His characters are the people you know opened wide, and dealing with aging and retirement, resentment and reconciliation, with a shade of sharp humour here and there – so says Nick Horgan in the introduction.
What people say
We all live in the same world, but it takes a poet to get to the heart of the matter. To understand it better, to experience it deeper, to laugh and cry louder. Melville Lovatt focuses on the mundane and the extraordinary – our dreams, fears, sins and frailties – and makes us look at them again and again, to laugh and wonder how amazing and rich is our human existence. His poems, written during the lockdown, will bring instant reminder of the emotions which we experienced during our solitary journeys through the pandemic. Anna Ryland. Writer
Melville Lovatt’s wide-ranging collection highlights his ability to see right into the souls of the people that he writes about, the lost, hopeful, lonely, defiant and worn-down. His is an insightful but gentle approach, depicting his subjects at the cusp of their lives, always with imagination, kindness and understanding. He is able to make the ordinary extraordinary. Phil Lawder. Open mic host and Author of the poetry collection, Edges
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“Melville Lovatt’s wry observational skills are used to wonderful effect in this eclectic collection of warm, witty and compassionate poems. He takes us on memorable journeys into other people’s lives with empathy and astute perceptions that encompass the wide range of human emotions. He has the beautiful ability to convey a whole background story in one short poem and encapsulates so much of how we all felt during the last two years. They benefit even more from being read aloud, demonstrating his playwright’s artistry that comes to the fore in the inner dialogues. A lovely anthology to dip into and relish.”
Hazel Leventhal via email
Sixtyplusurfers Book Review, July/August 2022
Dancing for England by Melville Lovatt
Review by Simon Fine
Melville Lovatt has been a playwright and monologue writer for many years, winning awards and having had his material performed in theatres. In 2020, he returned to writing poetry after a gap of some fifty years. He recently released a book of his poetry, Dancing for England, a collection of seventy four poems, with sixty six of them written during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several of the poems reflect the periods of lockdown, when staying at home was the norm and contact with others was restricted. Melville captures the isolation, the daily walks around our locality, covering our faces with masks, the tragedy of those who perished and the wish for life to return to normality. The contemporary nature of these poems makes them all the more powerful.
Many of Melville’s other poems tell the tales of regret, relationships under pressure, infidelity and fear. A son attempting to put his mother into a care home, so that he can sell her house is a favourite. A man faces redundancy and another cannot remember where he has parked his car.
There is also a nostalgic theme. I especially liked the disappointing return to Blackpool where the joy of childhood holidays cannot be recaptured. There is also humour, such as the mourner who attends the funerals of strangers so that he can help himself to the buffet.
Two of my favourite poems in Dancing for England have a football theme. The Penalty Shoot-out captures the anticipation of a sudden death contest, with the penalty taker and the goalkeeper trying to outwit each other, both feeling the tension of the moments before the decisive kick.
Ode to Ralph Gubbins tells the story of the 1958 FA Cup semi-final when Gubbins played for Bolton Wanderers as a replacement for the injured Nat Lofthouse, and scored the two goals against Blackburn Rovers that took Bolton to the Cup final. Gubbins is still a hero of the author.
The poems in Dancing for England are sharp and accessible, filled with emotional content and familiar themes that we can easily relate to. I found it a very enjoyable and impressive collection.
Melville Lovatt is an award winning playwright / monologue writer whose plays have been performed widely in smaller theatres throughout London. His poetry has won awards.
‘When all this is over’ won the Barnet Borough Times June 2020 poetry award. ‘The last sale’ won the Harrow Times Poetry Writing Competition in December 2020. ‘To Poetry’ won the Harrow Times Poetry Writing Competition in May 2021.
Melville studied playwriting at The City Literature Institute, Drury Lane, London and also at The Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn. He was President of Harrow Writers Circle until 2018.