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Showing posts from May, 2016

PATRICK CHAPMAN, MODERN DAY STOKER OR POE, HAS A NEW BOOK OF POETRY

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A LADY LOOKING FOR NOSFERATU IN CHAPMAN'S POETRY I have been a fan of Patrick Chapman's poetry for the whole of the 21st century at least, and remember first coming across his unusual work in his book The New Pornography (1996) - which was at the time a radical departure for Irish poetry - and 20 years later still seems to be.  Chapman should be celebrated as one of the most idiosyncratic, strange, disturbing, and imaginative Irish writers now at work - and his gothic, atheistic, scientific sensibilities chime equally with Stoker 's and Cronenberg 's. We often forget the Romantics loved science and the bizarre, and mistrusted god, and are more modern than even we sometimes appear to be.  Chapman is that sort of Romantic poet. His new collection is his best by far.  Slow Clocks of Decay (Salmon, 2016) has much that appeals to that part of me which loves Hitchcock films and sexy vampires; that enjoys bleak descriptions of life's futility, and the doomed nosta

ON READING DEREK MAHON - A NEW POEM

On Reading Derek Mahon I wonder at how often and when these poems so well-wrought will earn the readers in the coming years of digital concupiscence and onanistic thrills. A Chinese wall is built around the fire wall, and that is ringed by weird indifference to anything too brilliantly said. There is a formal way of being great that has the fate of being misunderstood. Experiment and hate together pull down the banners of a kingdom built on the quaint ideals of elegance or chivalric poise. The noise we intake instead is the bread of ignorance we break with ourselves. Our brains have softened as our tongues harden; citadels are closed; we’re bored and boring in equal measure unless maintained at a pitch would kill Darwin or Churchill; Mahon’s style is beautiful, still, serious, and makes an occasion of the flow and spill of words into a vase; a frame. There is an object to the art of poetry, it is that spoken song in itself is less wro

A BRIEF ESSAY ABOUT POETRY BY TODD SWIFT

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BEING EMPIRICAL ABOUT POETRY   As someone who has perhaps wrongly invested most of his life so far in the editing, publishing, teaching, promotion, and writing, of poems, I feel entitled to finally write this brief essay and get a few things off my chest.   It has become something of a joke (in some circles) to note the ongoing tendency to claim that Poetry Is Dead.   For instance, Don Share, the inspirational editor of Poetry magazine in Chicago, regularly posts such articles on Facebook with a virtual sigh.   Well, maybe it isn’t. But I am tired of the claims made for poetry by the poets I know.   And tired of the claims I myself have made for poetry, and perhaps continue to make, every time I write a poem.   This is because nothing in my own experience, in what I would like to grandly call the empirical realm – what is sometimes known as reality – confirms those claims.   I suppose the major claim is that most people really do love poems, find great joy i