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TV Eye

I watch too much TV, sometimes. Sometimes not enough. Or none. Recently been hooked on a bunch of series and shows, some bad, some good, some just okay. I don't mind. I like things on TV for different reasons - just like sometimes one wants Plath, other times Kenneth Fearing. Anyway, Luther has become increasingly suspenseful, engaging and ultra-violent with a very sexy serial killer anti-heroine as a good B-plot.

Flashforward is about to come to an end, tomorrow in the US, next Monday in Britain, after a season that, however sloppy, managed to combine the FBI and hospital sub-genres with soap opera and sci-fi, which was ambitious. I think it lacked a clear villain, though the arc has been complex and well-handled, if the key trope of the board was borrowed from The Usual Suspects a bit nakedly.

Better still have been box sets of Glee, Season I (all the way to the Sectionals) - I love the diabolical cheerleader coach especially, and the google-eyed shy staff love-interest; and of course the fun of the covers of classic show tunes and recent pop. Episode 12 was perfectly calibrated to end with a climax of all the threads to then. Impressive.

Most impressive of all is Breaking Bad, the finest and most astonishing TV production I have seen in perhaps a decade. It compares to the very best ever made, combining the darkness and humour and pathos and suspense of Crime and Punishment with a very contemporary sensibility perhaps its own. The story of a high school genius-level chemistry teacher dying of lung cancer who hooks up with a local low grade pusher to make and sell crystal meth to support his disabled son and pregnant wife when he is gone, is so edgy and morally dubious, it constantly had me reaching for the off switch.

However, the Emmy-winning lead actor, Cranston, manages to wring humanity and even sympathy from his deeply compromised protagonist - and Episode Six has the best kick-ass pay-off scene of stand-off between evil and anti-hero I can recall.


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To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.