Saturday, 17 November 2012
At long last Carcanet’s collected Edward Dorn is out with a terrific portrait by Philip Behymer on the cover. It’s substantial – nearly 1000 pages – and it contains, aside from the texts of all of Dorns’s books a considerable number of uncollected pieces. There’s an introduction by Jennifer Dunbar Dorn (who edited the volume with Justin Katko, Reitha Pattison and Kyle Waugh) and generous afterwords by Amiri Baraka and JH Prynne. Dorn’s exactitudes are well in evidence here though he wasn’t always on top of things. Back in the late eighties he published a Martial translation of mine in Rolling Stock attributing it to Catullus. This all came about because I visited him in Boulder in 1987. He and Jenny were more than hospitable and would have put me up if I hadn’t already booked myself into a nearby motel. He drove me up to the foothills of the Rockies and over a couple of evenings there was much talk of poems and poetics. The next year he got me to write a piece on the Australian Bicentennial celebrations for the magazine. As I did so I found myself absorbing his style though this was as much to fit into the journalistic style of the mag. Later, travelling and working in Europe he dropped me a line noting that: ‘In my advanced 20th C PO course at the Paul Valery université I reproduced your Montsegur poem . . . which I admired very much for its cool efficiency. I think some of them saw it - they were mostly girls named Michelle’.
Friday, 16 November 2012
First off three fine poets performed at Swedenborg Hall on Wednesday night: Andrew Jordan, Michael Zand and John Welch. Jordan, up from Portsmouth, read from Hegemonick, a book of uncommon power and resourcefulness, released a few months back. Then yesterday I attended the second half of a day-long seminar with Denise Riley at the University of Kent in which Riley opened up to all comers. This was followed by a brief reading in the evening at the Veg Box Café in Canterbury. Finally I wanted to mention Cusp, a collective memoir edited by Geraldine Monk and focussed on linguistically innovative poetry, neo-modernism or whatever you want to call it in the period between the early fifties and the advent of the World Wide Web. I will be writing about this timely and fascinating book elsewhere.
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
The Alchemist’s Mind, subtitled ‘a book of narrative prose by poets’ published by Reality Street was launched last night at The Lamb. It contains an astonishing variety of work by twenty-eight poets, five of whom read in the evening. These were editor David Miller, Paul Buck, Brian Marley, Stephen Watts and MJ Weller. The other poets featured are Guy Birchard, Vahni Capildeo, Johan de Wit, Lawrence Fixel, Giles Goodland, Barbara Guest, Paul Haines, Lee Harwood, Lyn Hejinian, Fanny Howe, Robert Lax, John Levy, Tom Lowenstein, Daphne Marlatt, Bernadette Mayer, bpNichol, Will Petersen, Kristin Prevallet, David Rattray, Ian Robinson, Robert Sheppard, Keith Waldrop and Rosemarie Waldrop. David Miller’s introduction is a substantial essay on kinds of prose that, unlike standard modern fiction, are informed by classic modernism. It is an exciting and timely volume. Pictured below are Paul Buck, Brian Marley, Stephen Watts and MJ Weller (who would have been, as ever, a hard act to follow).