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Todd Swift Compared to Police Brutality By Bonney?

If you think I started this, think again, folks - in the delusional world of Sean Bonney, I am some sort of corporate insider, close to the beating heart of British fascism - I quote from his blog, dated August 30 this year; this is weird, and offensive.  It is also entirely misguided.  I am a Catholic university lecturer who volunteers for Oxfam in my spare time, and edits poetry projects; I am published by a small press in the UK, Canada, and Ireland.  In what world am I part of "official poetry"?  Does this relate to Bernstein's "official verse culture"?  I have published positive reviews of Bernstein here at Eyewear.  Where did Bonney form this radical opinion of me, that I am some sort of whack of a police club?

What if all it can do is transform into the endless whacks of police clubs - certainly you get that in official poetry, be it Kenny Goldsmith or Todd Swift. Their conformist yelps go further than that, actually, as the police whacks in their turn transform into the dense hideous silence we’re living inside right now, causing immediate closing of the eyes, difficulty breathing, runny nose and coughing. Because believe me, police violence is the content of all officially sanctioned art. How could it be otherwise, buried as it is so deeply within the gate systems of our culture.


Todd Swift said…
In the past, Bonney has also called me a "right wing comedy writer". He may be mixing me up with someone else...
Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

Everything is relative and I think that Sepp Blatter and John Terry find themselves in slightly warmer water than the editor of Eyewear!

Best wishes from Simon
Sean Bonney said…
Dear Todd,

It's a metaphor, which I thought would be clear. The piece you quote from is the last in a series of prose poems that were trying to think through a few issues around how a politically engaged, left-wing poetry could respond to the riots of last August.

I doubt you've read the whole poem. If you had, you would have noted that I quote the Martinique poet Rene Menil, and his claim that "poetry transforms itself dialectically into the voice of the crowd" - one of many such claims that left wing modernists made in the twentieth century regarding the political efficacy of poetry. I counter this, saying that much of what is called poetry is closer to the rhythm of police clubs - and then go on to name the four people who died as victims of police brutality in the week immediately following the riots. I name you, and Kenny Goldsmith as more or less arbitrary examples of an anodyne verse culture that either (1) disproves or (2) makes a mockery of the claims for poetry that were made by the European avant-garde. It's rude, of course. There's a great tradition of that in poetry, going right back to the Greeks.

Thank you very much, by the way, for your judgement that "this is weird, and offensive". I trust you won't mind me using that as a blurb at some point in the future. I don't, of course, make my work for people like you, I don't expect you to understand it, and I would frankly be worried if you liked it.


Anonymous said…
This reminds me of a young author receiving a bad review and plastering their comments all over it trying to dissect it. I know the accusations here are stronger but I still don't think this is blog-worthy. Nor do I think any criticism that you have received is - by responding to it you invite more.
Henry said…
Rather than comment at length, I've made a couple of points at


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