The Lewknor Turn is a slim volume of poems divided up into five sections each with their own particular tone. Two of the sections are named after prominent public figures, Rod McKuen and Gordon Brown. The former is, of course, a poet of some considerable renown as an author of thirty volumes of poetry many of which can be picked up remarkably reasonably in charity shops. The latter is a former Prime Minister whose importance is highlighted in two lines from the eleventh sonnet in this section:
The best false sense you can lay your hands on
slides away in a fur of Brownian noise.
This last section of the book is accompanied by a series of notes and for those who are not in the know about Brownian noise ‘Results show that noise inlet spectra can be classified into two categories, pseudo-Brownian resonant noise and white or pink Large band noise, depending on the spectral density distribution’.
These are shrewd and bitter poems in which the tone moves from the outright comic to the moving sense of humanity trapped within concentric systems of media falsification and invention. The volume should be bought and read by all those who want a sharp dose of acerbic medicine which could provide ‘a sure cure for all diseases.’
Michael Schmidt’s blurb on the reverse cover of Simon Perril’s collection of 80 poems suggests that the lyrics to be found here are ‘themselves shells and fragments that constitute a haunted narrative’. This narrative elides the world of Archilochus, the first Greek lyric poet, and Pound’s ‘Homage to Sextus Propertius’ where, as Perril tells us in the afterword, the poet tunes into ‘a frequency of lyric resistance’ resulting in the capture of ‘a viscosity of voice’. We need now to weigh our words carefully:
and what of our words
when the weight
has come off them
and Earth’s a sapphire
set upon black;
that comes between all
folk and things,
yet strings us along
beads at market
amongst the stars
and other gaseous bodies
These two volumes of poems are available from Shearsman at www.shearsman.com and are clear indications of Tony Frazer’s continued commitment to poetry that combines the political and lyrical, the individual and the challenging. It is comforting to know that volumes like these can reach the market-place which is exactly where they belong.
As well as being accomplished poets both Anthony Mellors and Simon Perril are important academics. Mellors published his Late Modernist Poetics from Pound to Prynne (Manchester University Press) in 2005 and Perril edited The Salt Companion to John James in 2010 as well as contributing an essay on Bands Around The Throat to the 2009 Shearsman collection of essays on the work of J.H. Prynne, A Manner of Utterance.
Ian Brinton 18th October 2013