don't normally read a lot of poetry, but someone in my writers group lent me this, and it looks good.. ..mind you, the cover's different - mine has a sdon't normally read a lot of poetry, but someone in my writers group lent me this, and it looks good.. ..mind you, the cover's different - mine has a striking photo of the poet, but it is edited by Adrienne Rich, so I'm assuming it's the same book. Starts well:
Breathe-in experience, breathe out poetry : Not Angles, angels
..a terrific, strong blast from across the Atlantic. I liked it so much I didn't want to give it back, and will now have to buy to have on my shelves permanently. ...more
just come across some notes on this from my 1998 notebook: - a cruel, accurate view of Sylvia's suffering and breakdown. To Hughes signs are everythingjust come across some notes on this from my 1998 notebook: - a cruel, accurate view of Sylvia's suffering and breakdown. To Hughes signs are everything, he is as superstitious, locked into the stars as she was, rationalism has a flimsy hold here; numerical signs, names, stars, omens.
I don't normally put down the magazines I read on Goodreads, but felt this one deserves a shout out. I'm biased because I appeared in it in 2010, andI don't normally put down the magazines I read on Goodreads, but felt this one deserves a shout out. I'm biased because I appeared in it in 2010, and it's local to me (The Univerity of Warwick is about 15 miles from my house), but it's a British equivalent to Agni or Ploughshares. New fiction and poetry and criticism feature and it is international in scope (the current one - June 2012, Vol 6, no 2 - features new writing from Australia). My friend takes out a subscription and I borrow after he's finished. The stories in this new one are breathtaking. My favourites - a new one by Ron Rash, a beautiful, sad one by John Saul, and a bitingly funny one from Ashley Stokes - could grace any best of collection, and there are another 5 almost as good. Plus there's some (good I think) poetry, and a lovely section called notebook in which Carl Tighe reminisces about his chioldhood. I remember chocolate concrete. I read it on the beach (in between bouts of Kjaerstad) so it's a bit battered, I hope my mate won't mind....more
this was a secret Santa present for Clare (my wife) and has been hanging around the house. naturally I've been dipping in, and so far enjoying the ricthis was a secret Santa present for Clare (my wife) and has been hanging around the house. naturally I've been dipping in, and so far enjoying the rich, complex poems - a bit like Christmas pud, stuffed with stuff, particularly clever alliteration. I don't normally like Christmas pud though. Reading a poem every now and then so may take some time to finish.
well.. I liked it but finding it hard to write about. Just read an article about Irvine Welsh and he says:Impossible to analyze poetry, you either get or you don't, it's the deep trance music of literature. Don't know if that's quite right, but will maybe come back here and comment after a bit of re-reading. ...more
more poetry! Again there's a reason - a local writer, a local press. I did a reading with one of their authors recently and picked up a couple of theimore poetry! Again there's a reason - a local writer, a local press. I did a reading with one of their authors recently and picked up a couple of their 'pamphlets'/'chapbooks', not sure what to call them.
Planet Shaped Horse is fucking nuts, as you might have guessed from the title. A sealed off world, complete with a map frontispiece, peopled by Miranda and Simon and 'I' and a hermit or hermits or are they part of a Time-Based Sculpture, a final year piece, living just 'past the fabricated hills (felt) and the acres of brambles/(wire wool and suspended craft knives).' ? It's full of lines like 'Today I hallucinated an angel who told me I wasn't hallucinating.' On the back of the title page where past books are usually listed it says 'Oooh Another Book' at the top and at the bottom 'You Must Be Very Proud'. If that doesn't sound your thing you probably won't like this. It ain't mine really but I found myself enjoying this, it's very funny, well I found it funny, this is an example of the humour (from a poem called 'Stupidest Words in Dumbest Order The'):
Butterflies are bits of something. The hermitologist is reading More magazine.
It's his day off, so instead of sitting on his mound of dirt, he sits just to the left of his mound of dirt.
I found myself smiling as I read this on the train in the morning on the way to work gliding past the University with its Italianite tower and extensive grounds where he is an academic. When I got to work I looked him up on the net and see he looks about 23 and isn't much older and his 'award winning poetry has appeared in numerous print and on line journals. He exists in a permanent state of award-winning; he is like a giant magnet for awards, or, if awards are moths, a giant light.'
came this morning from amazon. Again I won't be able to review this book without bias as he is in my writer's group and has been a good friend of minecame this morning from amazon. Again I won't be able to review this book without bias as he is in my writer's group and has been a good friend of mine for many years.
I'm not sure of myself with poetry, not reading much of it, but I liked these, seemingly straight and sharp poems, darts hitting the bullseye:
RED BASTARDS Go in early, get it done and leave We've been worried about this estate at the Northern corner of the city, but it's an incandescent Sunday morning
and the glow reflects from the concrete to print our skins with unity.
The group post copies of their left wing leaflet, but get chased off:
the gob of spit on the car window still gleaming as we left the district, our voices rising above the situation while the fear waited down below
to unfold its many legs and crawl up into my chest, an insect larva already at an awkward age, impossible to evict or live with.
So what was a straightforward piece about confronting political hostility turns into something uncanny, monster like, and many of the poems follow that pattern, observations of the real turn to the more abstract inner fears (and sometimes hopes) often represented embematically by a creature or a bird or an abstract force. I'm not sure I always like the ends, sometimes I think they take away the force of what has gone before, eg in this brutal and beautiful whole poem:
THE RITUALS Not every night, or every weekend, but now and then without warning he twisted her arm behind her back
and beat her naked body with his belt until her blood stained the duvet And afterwards, he held her still
and stroked her diminished face, kissed the blue-black runes that stood like Braille on her damp skin,
matched her breathing with his own and quietened his own terror in her. They had two children, both madness.
As I say, I am extrememly biased. A lot of these poems address issues in Joel's family and personal - as well as his political - life and take on extra layers of meaning and subtleties for me, and it is impossible to untangle all that. The extract below for example is about a mutual friend and fellow member of our writers' group who died in 2005:
THE LISTENER for Godfrey Featherstone
He grew quieter in the last years, walking slowly, the card of pain kept hidden close to his chest;
drawing energy from stillness, words chilled below zero to keep their message clear and hard.
He knew the page was an instrument for the hands and the breath..
I'll leave it there I think as I am in danger of just writing all the poems out. ...more
liked a lot of this, packing a lot into a few lines, sometimes heartbreak and comedy, eg in 'Hawk': 'Sometimes I awake with a headline stuck in my healiked a lot of this, packing a lot into a few lines, sometimes heartbreak and comedy, eg in 'Hawk': 'Sometimes I awake with a headline stuck in my head - Doctor in Bangor Treating Elvis for Migraines' is followed soon after with 'Yesterday, my student fell from a tree and died.. I stopped to buy cough drops and a backscratcher'. But the student is given his proper due - 'because he believed in what he wrote, he wasn't my best writer. He wasn't a liar, he wasn't waiting for applause. The clap of crows emptying a tree was enough for him, the simple architecture of an egg.'
It is full of love/family, eroticism and death constantly interrupted by the mundane, but you feel Johnson (unlike Coleridge) welcomes these interruptions: 'A car that's a bass guitar rattles my windows - a ritual I run my life by unless someone knocks on the door. No one ever knocks on the door.'
Sometimes the whimsy grates: 'Sleep quietly, dry logs', sometimes I like it: 'the dead will return in taxi cabs'.
Not sure how to assess it, I go from 3 to 4 stars, but I do feel I will go back to this book over and over and dip in and re-read and get more from it, or perhaps sometimes less.. so thanks Kevin.
Feb 2011: yay, I just uploaded the cover picture. Aren't I clever?
David Hart's poem about the closing of a cafe is especially poignant for me as I livFeb 2011: yay, I just uploaded the cover picture. Aren't I clever?
David Hart's poem about the closing of a cafe is especially poignant for me as I lived very close to this cafe and still walk past its remains every day on my route to work along the canal towpath. This book is chocka with colour photos of the cafe in various stages of destruction and surrounding wildlife along the towpath and wastelands. I'm not a very good judge of poetry so I'll leave it up to you - the poem and the cafe and a walk along the canal with the poet and others is featured on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIYVxo... but the book is a small delight of typography and illustration.
I am amazed such a small, local publication made it on to goodreads.
Now I'm going to try and upload a photo from it: .... nah, can't do it......more
I loved this little book when I first bought it many moons ago, partly because of its great fifties cover (1959 pb), including the blurb: Sex- freed fI loved this little book when I first bought it many moons ago, partly because of its great fifties cover (1959 pb), including the blurb: Sex- freed from value or social restrictions - the intimacies of drug addiction, the thrills of crime, the comforts of gang life and the willingness to dislocate and suffer. The BEATNIKS and the ANGRIES speak their minds.
Kerouac, Osborne, Mailer, Ginsberg... and Kingsley Amis, who couldn't be further from the description above.
Sadly it's falling apart now. just (April 2012) had to put up the cover again. Covers seem to be disappearing from GR...
British prose and poetry of WW2, includes V S Pritchett's The Saint, and William Sansom's The Wall, but no Henry Green (who also wrote memorably aboutBritish prose and poetry of WW2, includes V S Pritchett's The Saint, and William Sansom's The Wall, but no Henry Green (who also wrote memorably about firefighting during the Blitz like Sansom's piece). Excellent round up otherwise....more