The sixty-fourth Blue Bus poetry reading took place last night upstairs at The Lamb in Lamb’s Conduit: a joyous evening! D.S. Marriott read first and I was immersed in a richness of language that left me haunted. As well as reading some new work that is as yet unpublished he took us back to the Shearsman publications, Hoodoo Voodoo (2008) and The Bloods (2011). It was Romana Huk who raised this idea of spectres in Marriott’s work when she did the introduction to the 2008 collection:
‘In a sense, all of Marriott’s books are about spooks and specters—‘haunted life, as his last book of prose names them.’
Robert Sheppard’s most recent book is The Only Life, a collection of three stories about poets, which is published by Knives Forks and Spoons. They also publish his The Given, a piece of ‘autrebiography’, a mode of writing he has been extending in recent months. Berlin Bursts came out from Shearsman last year and A Translated Man will appear soon from there as well. Last night’s reading was sharp, witty and reminiscent of a high-performance steam-roller.
Sarah Kelly presented some astonishingly powerful pieces of poetry which seemed to merge the art world of Cy Twombly with the fragmentary history of the Lascaux cave paintings. They were moving and transient as she prepares to return to South America and as Charles Olson wrote of Twombly in 1952:
‘honor &elegance are here once more present in the act of paint’.
A great evening of word-hammering!