The new edition of Iain Sinclair’s Suicide Bridge: A Book of the Furies, A Mythology of the South & East – Autumn 1973 to Spring 1978 (Skylight Press 2013) expanded on the original Albion Village Press 1979 edition, constitutes the first complete version of the work. The Books of Gwantok, Brerton, and Bowen have been recovered from typescripts, notebooks and magazine publication. It includes a contemporary review of the original edition by Robert Sheppard, which serves as a useful introduction and contextualization as well photographs and artwork from the first edition, and new photographs by the author. This new edition, beautifully designed by Rebsie Fairholm, appears prior to the first publication of a long lost poem, RED EYE (Test Centre 2013), from 1973, on 23 October. Albion Village Press contributors, Brian Catling and Chris Torrance, join Iain Sinclair to launch RED EYE at the Test Centre, Stoke Newington on that date.
I recall the excitement of first reading Suicide Bridge with its heady mixture of poetry and prose, text and counter text, scientific and literary quotation, cut-up’s and interwoven texts, beginning with the introductory statement ‘Intimate Associations: Myth and Place’. Man is rooted in Place but looks toward Myth for his living breath. Myth emerges as a weapon, a tool of resistance, echoing Robert Duncan. This was heightened open-field poetics applied to Albion, via William Blake’s Jerusalem, re-animating Blakean mythology through the low life of East London, with its sacrificial victims, and other occurrences. Hand and Hyle, the demonic twins, primitive and shadowy, born from a black hole, redolent of the Kray twins, emerge and are born again, ‘anchored / to the fate, the corruption of this island’ unleashing cycles of birth, death and re-birth in a violent and bloody portrayal of Albion. Other characters from Jerusalem are brought to life in a series of mythical texts that provide a memory or reordering of cultural resistance to the powerful and malign in a world split between good and evil. Suicide Bridge offers, in essence, a reordering of literary and cultural history, with references to iconic Sixties events and materials, through a series of textual workings to ‘THE ENEMY’. It is a joy to re-read.