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Paul Maddern was in born in Bermuda of Irish and Cornish heritage. He is the recipient of two Bermuda Government Literary Awards, was shortlisted for the Irish Shine/Strong Award and his poem, ‘Effacé’, is on the GSCE syllabus. The Tipping Line is Paul’s fourth publication with Templar Poetry.
The Tipping Line is a series of eight epistolary poems written across six years and addressed to a young man training to be an actor. Part auto-biography, part exploration of artistic practice, and part historical record, the poem moves between Donegal, London, Leeds, Bermuda and New York.
The journey produces unexpected and repeated encounters with all manner of artists: singers, dancers, poets, painters, film directors, and playwrights. But it is the Creature from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein who haunts the poem – particularly as depicted by James Whale in his 1931 film of Shelley’s novel. A survivor of WWI, we can read Whale’s Creature as a metaphorical resurrection of the war’s mutilated dead, and it is this war that occupies Maddern more and more as the poem unfolds.
Published in the year that marks both the bicentenary of Frankenstein’s publication and the centenary of the WWI Armistice, Maddern’s poem is reminder that these two events continue to influence how we interpret and shape our worlds.