Black Book is a mixture of light and dark, an assortment of pictures that paint very personal and emotive journeys of a person who has experienced much, and has needed to throw the words out on page as only an artist can do. Poetry should leave you feeling a little exhausted, as if you have been on a journey and Hall does exactly that. Although his poems are written between 2003-2015, there is a narrative which runs through, from A Dance In The February Sun about a school friendship in Bicester School in 1987, to a homage to Roger McGough, For Me, It's A Middle Aged Death which he writes about himself approaching middle age.
Poetry is all about responses and how we react to ourselves. Black Book encapsulates many of these responses, and Hall is very good at observing these emotions in other people as well as himself. One stand out poem is Facial Expressions where in four stanzas he captures the emotions of crying, smiling, kissing and laughing beautifully, inspired by a train journey he took from Liverpool to Birmingham. Inspiration is one thing that this wee book of poetry gives, it also makes you smile and sigh with pleasure, and then you turn the page and delight in the next extraordinary prose.
Written from the heart from someone who understands about what he is writing about, Black Book is only a taster into the mind of this talented poet. Each poem stands alone in their subject, bold, brave and bursting with lyrical joy, as it takes you by the hand, not letting go until you turn the last page.