Thursday, December 2

The Eternal Idiot


It’s Thursday evening, and because I now have three days off work it’s the beginning of a long weekend and in my head it feels like a Friday evening. I’m not exactly sure what that means, except I know I have some notion of lots of space opening up in front of me within which I have nothing to do but read and, perhaps, write. Other things may happen, but nothing is planned beyond a trip to get some food and maybe a couple of rented movies. Actually, that’s not strictly true: I’m really really looking forward to going to see Hayden at The Maze on Sunday. Otherwise, I may not get out of my pyjamas very much unless Jez comes out of the woodwork and he turns his suggestion that we go for some kind of long walk into the countryside and towards a pub into a reality rather than simply an idea. But I have lots to read in the meantime.

I also find myself spending a lot of time thinking about what’s going on here at “E&D”, as I have come to shorthand it. If it’s a Blog, then that makes me a Blogger. And I have begun to investigate the world of the Blogger and realise I am not really one of those. Not really. “E&D” is turning more and more into a web-zine, but I still really like the spontaneity of the blog, and the freedom it gives me to do…… well, to do this:

I just went to Stride. Rupert Loydell has today put a very nice mention of my pamphlet “Coral” on his blog, which I urge you to read because it will make me feel good. But, more to the point, I then took a hop over to Stride Magazine to see if there was anything new there and Rupert has reviewed a bunch of American stuff, and it’s wonderful business. He reviews a selection of books, and here are some choice quotes from his review:

Dull work wrapped in a dreadfully designed cover.

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Did he really have to travel to Greece to discover what wind does to doors? Come on!

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At first I flicked through these short skinny poems, sometimes almost haiku, and thought 'oh no', but returning to the book, with encouragement from blurb writers Michael Palmer and Robert Creeley, I find a clarity and precision in the work.

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Absolutely appalling. Let's move on.

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Already we have rearranged/disrupted words, ideas of art, faith, books, language, forgiveness, business, myth... already I am intrigued and want to read on.

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These poems may be rooted in experience, experiences which ring true, but they are used as stepping stones to something else: that something being poetry rather than stories told in broken lines.

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Don't get me wrong, this is neither 'difficult' nor 'experimental' poetry, but it does track the thought process, the way we flick through channels and ideas in our head, how strong emotion such as loss and grief can scramble the transmission.

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…. the lines can't possibly hold all the ideas and images in, so the reader is left to do plenty of work for themselves. This is a good thing.

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The blurb on the back suggests that Dick is 'dedicated to an understanding of the internal tensions of the lyric voice and the human heart'. I think this hits the nail right on the head. All of this exploratory and inventive work ultimately becomes heartfelt music for the reader...... This is great stuff.


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….. (this) work is rooted in the idea of a poet telling the reader something, with little interest in how it is said. It's clunky and portentous…


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Personally, I look up from these pages out of boredom, and am reminded that time is too precious to waste on being generous to this kind of nonsense.

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What is so good about this is that here is someone who knows what they are talking about and knows how to say it. Loydell also knows when to admit the first take is not the right take. Sometimes you have to (must) re-read. Sometimes you have to do some work yourself. And sometimes, dear Reader, you have to say that a Poet Laureate is rubbish. But you illustrate the Why. The PL is not rubbish just because they are on top of the pile, and you resent it. I urge you to read the full review, and find out some new poetry names, not all of which you will want to remember but some of which you will.

And my point is, if I recall, that blogging lets me do this: read something, & write something, and put it here within minutes of the event and the idea.
It may not always be the best idea, but at least it’s honest. But no, I am not a real blogger, I think. So in the new year, which is not far away, I’m going to be looking at rebuilding all this and turning it into a website that will allow for magazine, blog, music, visual art….. I was talking to some people at work today and Kelly said she thought I was The Eternal Teenager. I said, No. I’m The Eternal Idiot.




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