Humfrey Coninsgby – Poems, Complaints, Explanations and Demands for Satisfaction
Valley Press, 2015
For Humfrey Coningsby – lord of the manor of Neen Sollars in South Shropshire – the world was a place of wonders and despair, of love found and then forsaken. He was a cantankerous, sentimental, petulant traveler; a gentleman soldier; a sly linguist; a confidant of Princes and Emperors; a receiver of such delights, and a doomed versifier. He walked out of this world on 10th October, 1610 – and now he walks back in, with barely a word of explanation. This series of poems, complaints, explanations and demands for satisfaction forms the narrative of a life still being lived over four hundred years later. The Siege of Strigonium in 1595 was wretched; life in Aleppo in 2015 is worse.
“I was sold on this collection at first hearing. It was the voice first – dry, witty and with impeccable comic timing and an ear for the deflationary punch line; then it was the geographical sweep and reference, that reminded me why I like Umberto Eco. In the end it was the complexity of this apparently world-weary man who presents a blandly unreadable face from his tomb.” – John Foggin, Compass Magazine
“A poet with a nuanced ear, ambition of the highest order, and a thoroughly accomplished piece of work.” – JPL, Sabotage Reviews
If you would like to listen to Jonathan reading some of the poems in the pamphlet, you can find some recordings on Soundcloud.
Humfrey Coningsby’s story was also the subject of a BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama by Jonathan Davidson, Hashtag Humfrey Coningsby, which was first broadcast in 2015.