Saturday, 29 March 2014
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.
Sunday, 23 March 2014
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
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 hydromorphone will arrive next week.
They look at me with eyes far more pathetic,
far more far off, than mine. They speak
in mock-hush tones more hushed than mine. It could
happen anywhere, my getting over cold,
anywhere but in this cancer ward.
poem copyright the author, published with permission.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
So far, so what, you might ask - but then comes the twist that makes everything shine and flash - for this is fused with an ambient sensibility, a gift for abstract airy soundscapes, and dream-pop, part Tangerine Dream, part Talk Talk, part William Orbit. What results is a guitar and synth masterwork that has the driving pulse of a revival meeting that has just been joined by Jesus bearing peyote. Yelps of extraordinary joy and rhapsodic sequences spiral out and spin in to the rambling, open form songs, that expand and swim about the rock formula in a dream swoon like kissing a wannabe starlet you love in a diner on the edge of town. 2014 has given us albums of majestic pop beauty by Beck and Warpaint, but this surpasses them for intelligent design.
Sunday, 16 March 2014
But they wrote a lot of guff. No guff here. All is burnt away, to what is only required - the poems are so achingly tender, and sad, and lovely, they seem ancient, or at least 19th century - but there is a modern steel in them, too, that has cut them to only what is needed. Barker is the poet that people who do not think they like modern poetry would love to read, if they only knew about him, and had the time, or inclination, to reach for a new poetry book. He is effortlessly major, in the non-tradition of the eccentric, traditional, non-aligned poets of the 20th century (one thinks again of Graves). I have rarely so delighted in a poetry book - and so what if it is all about death, and life, and the trembling veil between those two hardships? So what if it is love poetry, religious poetry, pure poetry? Americans used to experiment might balk at such lush quaintness, and some Cambridge poets might quail - but where and when and if poetry is about feeling, well-made and placed on paper in signs meant to move another, later soul, then this book, even as I continue to read it, yields some of the finest poems a British poet has ever written. The Land of Gold deserves to be read 100 years from now, and then some.
Note: I now have read the first two-thirds, and the book remains great.
Saturday, 15 March 2014
Vicky MacKenzie reviews
by Kathryn Maris
by Kimmy Beach
Kathryn 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.
Friday, 7 March 2014
Thursday, 6 March 2014
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 Power, Robert Selby.
Previous participants in the scheme were Fiona Benson, Toby Martinez de las Rivas, Heather Phillipson and Jack Underwood in 2009, and Joe Dunthorne, Annie Katchinska, Sam Riviere and Tom Warner in 2010.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
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 light.
Our bodies broadcast our deaths,
deaths predicted at the moment
we unsheltered from the womb.
Death is a broken comb of honey,
its incomplete hive buzzing
with the sweetness of something else,
the further fields of stamen and pistil
awaiting fecundity. Death starts
like a starter's pistol a race
to the line where all that disintegrates
embodies the greatness of our birth:
we walk constantly dying upright
because we are possessed
of what cannot die, what ignites,
the match-head blue striking of soul.
poem by Todd Swift, 2014.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
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 great beauty, sung with a mournful, emotive tone - however the lyrics are devastatingly deep - meditations on life, religious belief (it is an atheist album), nature, beauty, and hope.
As a Catholic, I resist the temptation to downgrade it - instead, I welcome such a strong and beautiful atheistic statement. As Flannery O'Connor told Alfred Corn in a letter, unbelief is the first step to being a religious person. Such existential humanist works in art and pop culture help to further the necessary reflections on our lives, beliefs, and hopes. Art should be moving, beautiful, and wise, and get us thinking - no other album I know of in the post-punk canon does this better.
Saturday, 1 March 2014
On the value of reading during a global pandemic Though it save no life passes time that could be wasted w ith Money Heist or Tiger Ki...