11th April 2019
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The Knotsman does not exist, you will not find him in history books or collections of ‘bygone’ skills. But Math Jones has created him, and his fellows, in a time very like the English Civil War.
There he is, going from house to house, village to village, poem to poem, battlefield to gallows, unravelling knots and problems, physical, emotional and psychological; a new kind of cunning man, not always welcome, not always quite as clever as his fingers and picks would have him believe.
No one knows what the knotty man knows – or no one knew – here knots of love, domesticity and death, children’s rhymes, deep poems, songs and snatches created by Math Jones build folklore around a character so wholly believable he will surely become entwined in our host of otherworldly creatures. The Knotsman has secured a place in my imagination and this is a volume I will turn to time and time again to help me unravel the important questions.
Dr Fay Hield
Math Jones is a natural at merging poetry with engaging narrative and syntax. Despite a 17th century setting about poems focusing on a cunning protagonist, (a Knotsman with an alchemy for untying various knots) these also to me represented a modern allegorical critique on an unravelling political world we inhabit today. With a finesse in his rhyme and a beat to his controlled and structured poems this is a consistently good read where each poem is well crafted with the same discipline of the character which the poems represent.
Math Jones weaves rhymes and sounds with beguiling storytelling to create the finest ‘knots of words’. The Knotsman is an unforgettable character – as he loosens the threads that bind fates and tie hearts’ veins together, so his hold on the reader tightens. A memorable mythic collection.
The mysterious Knotsman travels far and wide, unhitching and unravelling, rewriting vows and improving lives. He is so convincing that you almost want to look him up – is this a recently discovered manuscript, a Chaucerian character that has slipped our notice? None of these. In his “mess of superstitions” Math Jones has created a distant, mystical world where strings speak, knots stand in for relationships and the centuries fall away. One to read aloud by a log fire.