Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Poetry Review Comment/Poem

Those of you who know me will know I'm one of those poetechs/wiredwriters who is intermittently plugging in to technology - blame it on my two engineer brothers and (of course) my own background in physics/biochemistry/microbiology and the rarely-confessed four hours programming on my friend Ebow's ZX Spectrum when I got so fascinated by the things I could get the computer to do and record on tape - yes, tape! - that I got home late and got my arse acquainted with a lost branch from some random water-starved tree in Accra. Anyway, that's a long roundabout way of saying I put my name in a google alert and got this little nugget from a blog about my poem in the Poetry Review:

"However, there is surprising news for today - I've just finished reading the latest "Poetry Review" magazine and it's the first time I've closed the final pages and haven't wondered what on earth all the fuss was about. Not a bad edition really - an undercurrent of pretention here and there of course, but at that level you probably have to expect it. There were some poems I even enjoyed (Good God, Carruthers, pass me the smellings salts: the words "enjoy" and "Poetry Review" have never been in the same paragraph before). I will even go so far as to say I noted some poets and their collections down on my buying list. Particular favourites were Siriol Troup for being charmingly Japanese about WH Auden (ah, the story is in the spaces, m'dear ...), Hugo Williams for being charmingly Victorian, Nii Ayikwei Parkes for putting the people back into politics, and Jane Draycott for a wonderful scene of miscommunication. Also nice to see my old favourite, Neil Rollinson, in there. Though they were rather snippety about his latest collection, Demolition. Hey, I didn't think it was that bad. Not vintage Rollinson for sure, but not terrible!" - the blog is Anne Brooke's Writing Journal

Putting 'the people back into politics' - I thought, yeah, that's probably an accurate description of what I try to do, but whether or not I'm successful is always up to the reader - it's just good to know that occasionally people feel what I'm trying to say - on that note, here's an excerpt from the poem for those of you who haven't had the chance to pick up the review (On Pleasure):

Lebanon was in a shade of peace – stilled
from war – and regardless of what anyone said
about you, I had never heard a name so

beautiful; Sajeeda. Late afternoon, we held

hands by the gutter as we walked to our
secret haunt. Above the graveyard of cars,
our seven year old bodies twisted into

the rust and glass cage of a Nissan Sunny –
forsaken. Nested, we didn’t consider the odds
of dropping like dislodged eggs. In that

strange skyscraper of scrap – a monument
to your mechanic father’s failures, the precise
shape of the green tree in his flag – we

solemnly undressed, as one. We embraced

More information on the issue here

and that's it for today :)

Little Pleasures

I haven't blogged in a while, I haven't listened to NEW music in a while, I haven't invented a new recipe in a while - it's been that kind of year. I spent most of January and February in my editorial role for flipped eye publishing editing work for three of my favourite poets - Ainsley Burrows, Agnes Meadows, Charlotte Ansell - and ended the month of February with a celebration event called reaching the 10000, marking a slaes landmark for flipped eye.

But before the end of Feb I went to see Junot Diaz at the Royal Festival Hall and got my copy of the brilliant The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao signed. The book has now joined others on my shelf and it just hit me that about 20-30% of the books I've bought/received in the last year have been signed. Is this the real pleasure of being a writer - that you know/meet so many writers that you get a good chunk of your books signed - and free, even? I don't think so - what I get from those books, really, is inspriration, because I only get books signed by authors I admire - every one of those books is a reminder, a klaxon, a broken record stuck on the word write, write, write, write....

[Oh, started a new notepad for my teaching stuff...]