Neil Elder, long-time resident of Pinner, has won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Pamphlet Prize with his collection, ‘Codes of Conduct’ that has now been published.
The collection falls into two parts: firstly, a sequence focusing on life in the world of work which centres around the character of office worker, Henderson, and the second part of the book concentrates on poems encompassing a wider interpretation of codes of conduct. Neil does not say whether his time as an English teacher at St Helen’s School, Northwood or his present role at St Augustine’s Priory in Ealing are inspiration for the satirical edge to part one of the collection. However, one of his colleagues said, ‘These poems are absolutely wonderful, witty and an annihilation of the corporate world’.
In his adjudication, Prof Ian Gregson, judge of the Cinnamon Pamphlet Prize, said about ‘Codes of Conduct’:
“This collection is entertaining throughout but, in particular, it starts with a sequence focused on a persona, ‘Henderson’, whose experiences of office work satirically depict this key aspect of contemporary life in a series of representatively farcical and self-defeating episodes.”
Neil hopes that the poems will highlight the discrepancy between what we believe about other people and what we really know. He says that his poems raise pertinent questions about the way we work and live under the guise of humour.
A fellow member of the English Department at St Augustine’s Priory added, ‘He executes the poems with great sensitivity, bringing to mind a modern day Willy Loman (character in Arthur Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman’)’.
Some of Neil’s students have also been enjoying the work, and Katarina Krneta, Upper VI, commented, ‘This collection is simply fantastic’ and Shivali Sharma, also Upper VI, said ‘Mr Elder’s teaching, like his poetry, is inspiring’.
‘Codes of Conduct’ is available to order now from Cinnamon Press, and the usual online book sellers.