Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March, 2014

BRITISH SUMMER TIME

That's right, Eyewear kicks in to a new gear tomorrow, as British Summer Time arrives.... lots of posts to look forward to, including reviews, poet features, new poems, and notices of several Eyewear events in May and June.

Meanwhile, March 31 at 5 pm is the deadline to enter THE MELITA HUME POETRY PRIZE - free to enter, JUDGED BY FORWARD-WINNING FABER POET EMILY BERRY, first prize of £1,400.

http://www.eyewearpublishing.com/the-melita-hume-prize/

NEW POEM BY U.S. DHUGA

Eyewear is always pleased to feature new poems by poets we admire, and one of these is U.S. Dhuga.  Unfortunately, the poem is occasioned by something which we all hope does not prove sinister.

U. S. Dhuga is the author of Choral Identity and the Chorus of Elders in Greek Tragedy, published through Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in the series "Greek Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches" (Lexington Books, 2011). Founder, publisher, and managing editor of The Battersea Review, Dhuga earned his PhD in Classics at Columbia University. He lives in Toronto.

Say Banal Again, with Feeling

It’s pronounced baNAWL not BAYnal, my love—
this bothers me now, more than before, because
now I’ve got that disease

where you hold your hip and lurch
forward: the all-male (fuck, all-male...) search-
crew sent running through recesses of the ‘couch’

to find—so promptly and sincerely—my pills
comes back with but fistfuls of Benadryl
(non-drowsy) and assures me the refill

of hy…

VERONICA MARS IN THE ASCENDANT

STEVEN TIMBERMAN ON THE RETURN OF VERONICA MARS



Veronica Mars should never have worked. A hard to describe show on a little known network, with a mishmash of tones and genres somehow expected to sing together. The recipe for the show reads like a parody of a parody – Buffy without the demons, Nancy Drew with an edge, X meets Y with a dash of Z. High school hijinks standing side-by-side sun-soaked noir with dames in short skirts. And yet, here we are – Veronica Mars endures. The Veronica Mars movie has been heralded as the newest wave of direct-to-audience content, and demonized as yet another way for movie studios to wring consumers dry.
I don’t care about that. We’ve seen Arrested Development return, NBC announced plans to reboot their derivative Heroes, and Jack Bauer returns to kick unholy amounts of ass in a few scant weeks. But shows are more than buzzwords – the best products are able to capture lightning in a bottle at a specific time and place. 24 fed into our national paranoia …

THE WAR ON THE DRUGS - LOST IN THE DREAM

The War on Drugs is a smartly-named band that is basically one man's vision now - but the new album, Lost In The Dream has the sound of an entire canon, an entire back catalogue, echoing through it.  There is a lot of talk these days of mash-ups, fusions, hybrids, influences, and eclectic splicing, but few decisive aesthetic acts of total comprehension and compression that occur when a tradition meets an individual talent.  This album, just out in the UK in 2014, is such a moment. The list of fully absorbed influences is long, and almost comical - but let's start with the big two - Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen - mostly in terms of vocals for the former, and the chugging guitars, and epic sax bits of the latter; then move on to the Eagles, Chris Rea, Joshua Tree era U2, Tom Petty, Dire Straits - in short, a whole range of Americana-influenced rockers whose greatest songs are best played in cars with the top rolled down driving to Malibu at sundown, or to the Mojave.

So far, s…

JAMES A GEORGE, EYEWEAR'S FILM CRITIC, ON THE NEW ANDERSON

Very unprofessionally of me, or perhaps aptly in Wes Anderson’s story-within-a-story style, I will start by my review by quoting Mark Kermode’s astute review, watching The Grand Budapest Hotel is “less like marvelling at the silent workings of a Swiss watch than goggling at the innards of a grandfather clock, cogs and pulleys proudly displayed.” Wes Anderson is maybe the most unwavering of the few American auteurs working today – so if you loved his previous films, you will feel the same with this, and vice versa.
Unwavering not in the sense of quality, The Royal Tenenbaums was successful homebrewed lemonade spiked with melancholy, while The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is about as meaningful as aCath Kidsonteapot. Rather, unwavering in this above-mentioned mechanical sense. Along with narrative devices such as chapter headings and inception style plunging into novels-within-novels-within-novels, Anderson’s aims to flatten the image as much as possible as if watching shadow puppetry;…

THE LAND OF GOLD; AN APPRECIATION ON PAGE 40 IN THE SUN

Today is a miracle in London - after a long, very cold and wet Winter - it is as warm and sunny as a day in June might be. A perfect time to sit outdoors and read poetry.  And there is no better poetry book to read, today, than Sebastian Barker's The Land of Gold, recently published by Enitharmon. This is not a review - that is coming later, hopefully in print somewhere - but an appreciation.  I am only forty pages in.  But let me tell you something - these firsty forty pages are as beautifully lyrical and moving, as formally adept, as timeless, as the best of Housman, the best of Robert Graves. Barker, who died recently, was a man of vision, inspired by the great romantic and biblical works of the past - to call him Blakean is to state the obvious.  He also wrote in the shadow of his father, George Barker, the outsized Neo-romantic Faber poet of the 40s, whose reputation has oscillated widely and is now at an all-time low, close to Edith Sitwell's.  Such low reps can only ris…

GUEST REVIEW: MACKENZIE ON MARIS AND BEACH

Vicky MacKenzie reviewsGod Loves Youby Kathryn Marisand The Last Temptation of Bondby Kimmy BeachKathryn Maris’s poetry is of the slippery, unstable variety: it is witty, self-conscious and often flippant, but sometimes leaves the reader uncertain as to what’s really being said and even less sure what’s meant.

In the second section of the book, Maris parodies the language and rhythms of the bible, using numbered verses, anaphora, and her own version of the Lord’s Prayer. A desperate need to be loved by God recurs throughout but it’s echoed by a need to be loved by men, bringing these masculine figures to the same level: that of the desired but neglectful lover. However it doesn’t feel like religious faith is Maris’s target, so much as the godless state of contemporary society, which substitutes religious worship with celebrity worship.
In the wonderfully-titled ‘Will You Be My Friend, Kate Moss?’ the narrator observes:

‘[...] We have so many things
in common, like you’re pretty much my a…

WHERE WERE WE?

AHEM.  Eyewear's been busy, planning exciting launches for our spring collection of titles, at The LRB in May, and also at the Mexican residence.  We also have Eyewear poet Don Share over to Glasgow for a reading.  Be patient - we have some astounding new poems, features, reviews, and opinion pieces coming your way. And, in the meantime, enjoy the weather!

FABER NEW POETS ANNOUNCED

The Faber New Poets scheme exists to encourage new writers at a crucial point in their career. Open to those who have yet to publish a first collection or pamphlet, the scheme offers mentoring, pamphlet publication and financial support. In 2013, the scheme welcomed over 850 manuscript submissions. Faber & Faber and Arts Council England are delighted to announce the four Faber New Poets for 2013–14: Rachael Allen, Will Burns, Zaffar Kunial, Declan Ryan.

The pamphlets will be published in October 2014 and the Faber New Poets will be on tour, reading and performing at a number of venues, festivals and universities across the country in the Autumn, dates to be announced. Highly Commended In addition to these four, eight 'Highly Commended' entrants have been identified to receive a bespoke package of support to be individually tailored to their needs.

These eight are: Holly Corfield-Carr,Malene Engelund, Isabel Galleymore, Matthew Gregory, Daniel Hardisty, Abigail Parry, Phoebe …

ASH WEDNESDAY POEM

ASH WEDNESDAY

It wasn't invented yesterday, Death,
it casts a long shadow.  I know
where we are going, partly
and it is to dust, ash, awful stuff.

Who hasn't been awake
and worried about our fragility?
My father, in his coffin, broke
any sense I'd had that life was good.

His stillness, in the midst
of things, was far too complete
to be much comfort.  God promises
some form of return, but not bodily,

not after the dust has dissipated.
When we walk the streets marked
out as fools in our desperate hope
of life everlasting, we are

performing an act of instability.
We are throwing our living forward
into death, and by dying while alive
are making death and life a mixture

like the paste used to heal wounds.
The flimsy cross of coal on my skull
blows off in the wind, smudged
like newsprint.  But it is a story

made of a paper that burns up
each year, and each year reappears,
to be burnt again.  Seasonal, despair
turning like the sun to faith,

as flowers have to press again
to scatter the earth, to invade the l…

THE GREATEST INDIE/ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM OF THE LAST 35 YEARS?

Readers of Eyewear will likely know that I think albums by Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey, Echo & The Bunnymen, Eyeless in Gaza, The Passage, Felt, Simple Minds, David Sylvian, Mazzy Star, Beck, The The, The Smiths, Pixies, The Cars, Split Enz, Blondie, B-52s, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, ABC, Nirvana, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, The Replacements, and U2 could easily form a list of the top ten best indie/ alternative albums since 1980.  A very strong argument could be made for the entire Smiths catalogue of albums forming the top of said list, followed by perhaps Pixies, without much critical damage being done.

However, every spring I return to a perennial of such amazing quality, I have decided to name it Eyewear's Greatest Indie/Alternative album of the past 35 year period (1980-2014).  The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk is simply put a miracle.  Nothing in their backstory would have prepared us for this.  The album's 8 tracks are on one level jazzy, catchy pop songs of gr…

WAR IN EUROPE

Eyewear has been watching developments closely in Crimea, and as we predicted in earlier posts, the Russians have taken a hard line, and today it is reported they have effectively taken control of Crimea with their troops.  This is huge.  This is war in Europe - Russia has invaded a sovereign nation.  Consider Germany (in 2014) occupying a part of Austria - unthinkable.  Uncivilised.  Unwelcome.  And, unlikely to be stopped.  The West seems powerless to do more than threaten to cancel meetings (though Obama sounds tough).  Ukraine may fight back.  They have an army of one million reservists and a rusty but large air force, with a lot of their own tanks.  If Crimea becomes a firefight, it will be all about containment - keeping the conflict local, if possible.  We have begun a new cold war, as many papers report today - but if the Russia-Ukraine war spreads to the main part of Ukraine, then all bets are off, and NATO would be expected to threaten to intervene.  Given one of these natio…

BUDAPEST AND PRAGUE AGAIN

The USSR has a history of crushing dissent, in the spring.  One need only think of Prague.  And, tanks sent from Moscow rolled into Budapest too.  In both cities, in both countries, proud rebels opposed the moves.  But the tanks crushed in the end.  Russia is not the USSR, as I have been arguing, but since its Winter Games it has been playing a very aggressive sort of game with geo-politics.  I think the reason is the Black Sea Fleet, and the emotive, and real, linguistic and ethnic ties between Russia proper and Crimea.  President Putin, playing to the home crowd, would become a great iron man if he took back the Crimea.  I fear he may just try.  I am not sure what could or would stop him, short of thermo-nuclear threat, or severe economic sanctions.  This is the closest the world has been on the brink of world war since before 1989 - in a quarter century.  I don't think it is time to duck and dive just yet.  But this is serious.

THE OSCARS 2014

The Oscars feels increasingly like a waste of moral time, even for a pop culture fiend like Eyewear.  What with the Ukraine-Russia standoff, Syrian refugees suffering, and even the rise of UKIP, let alone ecological crisis and capitalist misfiring, not to mention the Nazi-style regime in North Korea, the lie that Hollywood saves the world is now a bit stale.  Still, a good film is a work of art, as well as entertainment, and even entertainment is welcome now and then in tough times; and a great film can be both great art and a serious moral act.  It is for this reason that Eyewear hopes that 12 Years A Slave wins for best film, director, actor and supporting actress.  It probably won't, though it is the finest moral Hollywood film since Schindler's List, and perhaps in some ways the greatest film ever made (despite Brad Pitt's hirsute performance as a too-modern Quaker), if only for how it combines art and a vision of a crime almost too vast to fathom without breaking.  In…