Friday, 24 September 2010
Saxophonist Evan Parker just happens to be a local. I’ve been listening to his recently released disc whitstable solo, recorded in the church of St Peters in that town just up the A299 from Faversham. It’s an extraordinary performance beautifully captured. My uncle, so it happens, was a recording engineer himself and in the early sixties with minimal miking made an atmospheric record of a church choir in outer Melbourne. In these contexts the building itself is ‘played’ as an instrument. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be at Parker's performance, but Harry Gilonis was, and he has contributed a poem ‘written only whilst listening to the music recorded on that night’. ‘a breath of air’ remarkably takes its stanza structure and rhyme scheme from Arnaut Daniel, the Occitan poet.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
In this world of right wing think-tanks things slowly fall apart. Elsewhere the black economy of poetry keeps a few people in drinks if not alive. Last night’s Blue Bus reading certainly did this with a good turnout for a great event. Ken Edwards gave a London launch for his new Oystercatcher book Red & Green then read from recent work. Red & Green, presented in its entirety, comes from a longer work entitled Bardo: forty-nine prose pieces over seven days, a rewrite of the Bardo Thodol with the port of Hastings as backdrop. Though Ken is working mostly in prose these days this book had the texture of poetry. Harry Gilonis has often commented on the sparsity of his own productions but one shouldn’t take his self-deprecation that seriously. Not on the strength of the two books launched last night: Reading Holderlin on Orkney, a reprint of a 1990s work from Brae Editions and a new Veer book, eye-blink, consisting of translations (or ‘faithless rewritings’)of eight classical Chinese poets. I highly recommend all of these books.