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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Jennifer K. Dick’s Circuits

Jennifer K. Dick’s Circuits

Tears in the Fence columnist Jennifer K. Dick’s new poetry book, Circuits, from Corrupt Press (http://corruptpress.net) inspired by the popular science of George Johnson’s seminal In the Palaces of Memory is an extraordinary investigation into memory theory and the uncertainties of communication. It is concerned with the library of entanglements that we carry inside our minds and bodies and maps out connections and false starts with pointed collage and conversation. The poems are playful and energetic. Dick allows the connections between information and duration through the body and mind to be laid bare within living communication. There is a commendable clarity and grounding within the exploration of memory’s tissue as well as a balance between the intellectual and physical. The work is open and an opening. It is a tour de force of explorative poetry.

 

We are looking for (far) inside us. Elusive. Seek, speak of things

called memories, the kind one could bottle, the kind that played

on the station we happened along on the all-night drive.

 

Dick is renowned for her speed of thought and recitation. Here there is speed and also a slower experiential and spatial deliberation that marks a new maturity in her work. The reader senses the body, a life with disruption and fluidity, and wit permeating a flamboyant yet precise mapping and probing. The poetry beguiles with reference and use of the unsaid and is supported by a useful section of Notes & Credits.

 

 

 

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Hughes & Corcoran new from Shearsman

Hughes & Corcoran new from Shearsman

Kelvin Corcoran’s For the Greek Spring consists of a selection of his poetry about Greece, combining new work with poems from his previous collections. An air of presence and mystery; a roadside shrine:

 

‘As if by arrangement four figures are spaced evenly in the foreground of the photograph; a road sign, an old man seated on a bench, an empty bench and a shrine. The road runs around the southern slopes of Parnassos. The view drops into the deep river valley, make one mistake and you die. Beyond, the mountain wall of silence rises out of the frame as you stand with your back to Delphi….

You stand with your back to the sanctuary. The road is empty on a morning in Spring. scattered with scrub and gorse, the white mountain rises.’

Interviewed by Andrew Duncan, published in Don’t Start Me Talking (Salt 2006), Kelvin Corcoran referred to the importance of Greece for him: ‘…spending time in Greece, visiting sites, and wanting to know something about the timetable a few thousand years before, which has led to patterns of behaviour we see as political now, I think it’s all prefigured, I don’t think that much has changed.’

For the Greek Spring gives us an ancient presence in 2013.

Peter Hughes has his own Greek poems of course and they appear in the newly published Selected Poems. As with Kelvin Corcoran this poetry explores the geography of living presence and in the selections from The Summer of Agios Dimetrios we can feel ‘the feral sea-nymphs nudging the rudders’ and note ‘the darker sound / of the sea far below which almost gasps / almost continuously & so it should / carrying for miles & years through the scrub / of this old basket of litter & stars.’

 

 

Poems of Yves Bonnefoy

Poems of Yves Bonnefoy

Ian Brinton & Michael Grant’s Poems of Yves Bonnefoy 1 has just appeared from Oystercatcher Press, the award-winning pamphlet publisher. These translations of Bonnefoy, the French poet and essayist born in 1923, interestingly differ from others in what is essentially a post-Heideggerian world. They delineate the separateness of the poetry of anguish, the bridge between light and darkness that comes after destruction.  Here there is silence after death, destruction, loss of God and the slow emergence of the eternal in the human voice, in bird song, in the forests of trees and memory and the healing of spring and fruit. ‘No beauty no colour detains’ this poetry that insists upon its own purity. It is the poetry of an uncertain quietness into living communication that considers ‘those processions of the light / through a land without birth or death,’ and the path to a new world.  There is a depth of voices coming out of the wilderness that is illustrated in the poem, ‘To the Voice of Kathleen Ferrier.’

 

I celebrate the voice merged with grey

Wavering in the distance of a lost song

As if beyond all pure form

Another song trembled, absolute, alone.

 

Here the translators indicate the loss of the song rather than the singing and thus the message rather than the medium. I immediately hear Ferrier’s contralto singing ‘Blow The Wind Southerly’ or Gluck’s ‘What Is Life?’ and recognize that sense of urgency coming out a generation that experienced personal loss during the Thirties and Forties and somehow have to find a way forward. One can sense more than a simple melancholy in her voice in Mahler’s ‘Das Lied von der Erde.’ Such elemental and eternal depth resonates in these carefully enunciated poems and spin off in disparate directions.

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