Skip to main content

Poem by Alistair Noon

Eyewear is very glad to welcome Alistair Noon (pictured) this Friday. Noon (born in 1970) grew up in Aylesbury, studied German and Russian, and has lived in Russia and China. He has been based in Berlin since the early 90s. In the later 90s he wrote sound poetry and performed at sound art festivals internationally. I first met him, a few years back, when he and I both performed at a Magma launch, at the Troubador, in London.

He's an active translator. Noon's translations include, from German, WWI Expressionist poet August Stramm and emerging contemporary figure Monika Rinck; from Russian, Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman, and from Chinese, contemporary poet Xiao Kaiyu.

Noon has worked as a language teacher, translator and most recently in hospital administration in Berlin. He coordinates an excellent annual reading series in that city, Poetry Hearings, and is an editor of Bordercrossing Berlin, a superb-looking periodical, with much of value in it. His recent essay "Translocal Underground: Anglophone Poetry and Globalization" appears in issue #3. It's recommended reading.

Noon is a poet-critic worth knowing about. As such, I've published his work at Nthposition, invited him to read in London at my Oxfam series, and, more recently, been happy to feature his review work here at Eyewear. Seek his work out. Happily, there is some below...


The Lakefarers

The sky was simple as we pushed from the quay;
there was no storm to fear with the far shore in sight.
We trusted the surface, knew the day would end
as unsalient as bare feet on wet grass.
We clutched at the rail and giggled as the first
lurch of the keel warped our course.
This was no case for the luminous waistcoat,
no hands looped on fear. We were aboard.
No face went lame or lips turned dry
under the moving sky.

Then Ear Lake bared its length to a blast
from helix to lobe. The wind blew trenches
in the water, pounded lakeside trunks. Gusts
shocked the boat, their timing guesses. The turn
to the shore would twist and capsize us, the sliding
door of the cabin slammed open and shut.
Sniffed and licked by a faithful fear,
we looked into the fathoms. The Captain’s wage,
crisp and light, was no currency we could take
to the floor of Ear Lake.

Skill in misjudgement or a kind of jinxed luck,
tillered our hull towards land
until the waves and our pulse rates lowered.
Shining stone crawled out of the sky,
and we slowed to the zone of shallow breaths.
Were we drugged by New Year’s Eve,
our senses less than acute? Our feet
wobbled on the gunwale, our minds a collision
of curses at Captains and at our trust
in a misjudged mission.


poem by Alistair Noon; photo by Clare Jephcott
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!