Sunday, 14 March 2021

Katie's River Voices

The first in a planned series on Poet and Place, this was filmed at local pal Katie's wild swimming spot.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

I, too, dislike it.

Burnside's essays made me look at Marianne Moore, I don't quite see the how or why I was turned away from her before, perhaps it was a concussion from the following generation's positively putting a gap between her and them: although the elder her corrected the younger one severely.  I am enjoying the younger self in "New Collected Poems".  But here is a later revision of the subject in hand:


I, too, dislike it.
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
   it, after all, a place for the genuine.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Chops II

There has been a writing gap of around 6 weeks and, as I resume, some impetus gathered to make a better job of poems. The time was always now.  With a poem’s smack rocking in the troubled harbour of my creative mind, at last:  some quick work this morning.  Two poems, faintly like-blooded.

Frontier Girl

In black and white, Women of the Wild West
inhabit, by and large, a world of fur and blankets,
hair piled up and laughs piled on and all:
stiff resolution. Guns hitched-high for saddle work.

A brothel girl is shooting pool in wool fishnets
with bloomers to her thighs – a long limbed blonde and
more or less, the outdoor kind. Her looks are free,
I daresay wild.  She’d make an awesome granny.

The Job Hunt
University of Worcester: Creative Marketing Officer

I see a job for £30K, or roundabout,
enough to keep a man around that age, 30 odd,
in wine and clothes, available for love.

A bachelor is a happy thing,
not quite the finished article,
but, no doubt, he has the looks,
medium ambition, he might go far or might
become the comfortable one:
slow moving, good with children.

At this remove it appears to me, besides the work itself,
somewhere between Gorillas in the Mist,
Jane Austen.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Nothingness haunts me / Oh yeh?

The Music of Time, John Burnside's recent collection of poetic essays, is entertaining enough for a poetry buff and I enjoy the man's verse: coming to terms with his prose.  We ran swimmingly with Sassoon and Everyone Sang, but our little boat hit a snag with L'Infinito.  

Each passage is framed in time and place. Here we have the young JB wiling away an afternoon, in the summertime? I digress. He fancies a college friend, Louise, will ride along and save him from an exam, the tediousness of Sartre, and as he hopes she... will cycle by with good things from Arjuna or Basil's Bakery... he comes across: Le néant hante l’être. A phrase that will haunt him for years.  Okay.  

John Burnside

I like this negative epiphany - Burnside's reckoning an abundance of epiphanies - his Hidebehind and poetic dread of nothingness.  But the scholar in him doesn't have the breadth, to weigh with this awful nothingness the clear light of the void. The word 'sublime' appears but we do not find the Divine Ground, despite JB telling us they were all mystics back in 76. And yet, to have written this, he was so close to the affirmative epiphany that would have been Arjuna's reply from the Bhagavad Gita, perhaps, if Louise had appeared that day.     

Arjuna and Sri Krishna

In short, to my jaded gaze, in this chapter the dominie has taken over from the seeker after truth. There is some loose talk of the isolation of the soul, loose - from a man given to quoting Mandelstam - and I see philosophers listed, with other sources... I anticipate a courtly bow to Freud.  That's all very well. It's standard fare.  For poetry, i'd also recommend the great religions and Carl Jung.  [Not that I've managed any verse for a month, or since Christmas or so, ho-hum].

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

You are a peculiar fellow, Abse

New and collected POEMS, Dannie Abse all of a piece.  The surgeon and writer, in some years; full-throated ease, and sometimes dig-in versification that reads and informs but does not flash with eloquence. One doesn't wait long for the brilliant. 

As the younger man catches up with me - late fifties - there are more glorious days.  And we have passed through shared experience of death, loss of friends, dealing with the young, even some shared time - in a long-range kind of way - with Michelangelo and the Medici Chapel.  There's always overlap with these guys.  I thought he might have written more of or to WCW in Heaven, he may: I've another generation to go.   ALSO, special commendation of the poetry book society.  

Sunday, 6 December 2020

the wrong comparison


A second degree in Eighty One:
she maybe 2 or 3 days
older than me.
                       Did I say days?
In the old Celtic reckoning.
With age years have become like days.

I remember the old legend
of Rip van Winkle; falls asleep,
his 20 winks become at once
as many years long: wasted years.

Or not wasted, perhaps just spent
beyond the fellow’s cognisance,
in latent recognition.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Queen of Cats, Louise G.

Louise Glück, Nobel Laureate Lit, 

Time for another look at Glück.  I enjoyed Vita Nova, picked up Faithful and Virtuous Night then tailed off, i'll try something more.  Meanwhile i've pre-ordered In Code, very unusual for me. I guess i'm a Corbett man. The point is,  Americans carry the fire.