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Showing posts from February, 2013

Guest Review: Willington On Lane

Alice Willington reviews Instinct by Joel Lane Instinct is a pamphlet of 23 poems, and its subtitle is poems of desire . These indeed are “poems of desire”; but the poet’s focus is the end, or the death, of desire, and the aftermath of physical passion. The images are strong, “After breakfast, I’ll walk you/ (on hollow feet) to the bus stop.” Or, “You need these souvenirs. /Your body’s an empty plate on the pavement.” It is a rare event in this group of poems for the joyful centre of passion to be articulated and for happiness to be told unadulterated. In the poem ‘The Cries’:             “a boy whoops softly, and a girl             Laughs, once, with such complete             Tenderness and repose that the bare             walls cannot use the sound.” In this collection it is as if the poet himself (or herself) cannot use these sounds of tenderness and repose. It is “too good”, and the poet takes the camera of a listener at the other end of the corridor,

Poetry Focus: Poem by Rae Armantrout

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Eyewear is very glad to feature the major American poet Rae Armantrout (pictured) this Saturday in London, and not just because she too wears eyewear. Professor Armantrout, who is associated with the West Coast Language Poets, studied when younger with Denise Levertov .  She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for her collection Versed , and her book Next Life was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2007.  She has taught for may years at the University of California, at San Diego BELIEVING     1 When did you first learn that the bursts of color and sound were intended for you? When did you unlearn this?      2 Believing yourself to have a secret identity can be a sign of madness. On the other hand, the lack of a secret identity can lead to depression. Many have found it useful to lie down as men believing themselves to be little girls or

Guest Review: McCauley On Oswald

Amy McCauley reviews A Reply to the Light by Peter Oswald Peter Oswald’s A Reply to the Light is a many-headed book, but primarily it is as a document of psychology that it comes into its own. If the book is read as a journey through Oswald’s innermost motifs and obsessions, the book reveals much about a man cut off from experience; an existentially isolated figure who – at best – observes life from the periphery. Take ‘Description of a Prostitute Seen Through a Window in Amsterdam’ for instance. The title alone might serve as a motif for Oswald’s position, or attitude as a poet.  Because frequently his poems describe scenes that are just beyond the poet’s reach; and time and again, both the ‘I’ and the eye appear to be physically and emotionally removed from the action. As if to emphasise this sense of distance, many of the poems contain either real or invisible windows between the poet and the contents of the poem. So in ‘Description of a Prostitute…’ Osw

Guest Review: Page On Clark

Jocelyn Page reviews Dis e ase and De sire by Kim Clark Clark’s title and two well-chosen epigraphs (the relevance of a third epigraph referring to Facebook statuses eluded this reviewer’s grasp) suggest an authorized nose into her situation, a signpost of permission to approach the topic and the text with an open, inquisitive regard.   And much in ‘Dis ease and De sire’ is informed by or otherwise relates to Clark’s disease, multiple sclerosis.   Many poets write of their own illnesses in subtle, effective ways, for one example Jo Shapcott who, in her latest collection ‘Of Mutability’ avoids naming the cancer that fuels the poetry.   Clark , however, opts to include a fair amount of reference to MS, including some description and terminology -   ‘wait, find my cane, no, I’m fine, / weight between my shoulder blades’ (‘Lacuna’) and ‘words worth their weight / in myelin.’ (‘The Abduction’) However, ‘Dis ease and De sire’ feels far from a documentation of the illness