Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Shape of the Dance

Q: Where is poetry heading? Is poetry that homogeneous an activity?

MD: Substitute the word 'music' for 'poetry' in those two questions and you see the kind of assumptions made about poetry. Blues musicians on the South Side of Chicago, jazz pianists in London, fiddlers in West Clare, electro-acoustic composers in Rotterdam - we wouldn't dream of measuring them by the same standard, ranking them or telling them where we think 'music' is going. Poetry is not an homogeneous activity. And art has no direction. That is spatial illusion generated by early twentieth-century ideas about 'advancement' and 'progress'. If it's hard to see this now, it's because the illusion is augmented by the demands of consumerism. Our economy depends on the notion that things and ideas become obsolete and have to be replaced. Products of art and literature can be sold more effectively if they're marketed as 'new' so that newness acquires an all-pervasive fetish value [...]

interview excerpt from The Shape of the Dance: Essays, Interviews and Digressions,
a collection of prose by the late Michael Donaghy.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Forthcoming Readings

Tall Reflections

Tuesday September 15th 2009 7.30pm

continuing the tall-lighthouse cambridge series

alan buckley & ben wilkinson

voluntary contributions - suggested £2

Visual Arts Centre, Christ's College, Cambridge



Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour

Old Brompton Road, London SW5

Monday 21st September, 8pm

pick of the crop with emma jones, greta stoddart, mike bartholomew-biggs, olivia cole, martha kapos, ben wilkinson, emily berry and siân hughes with music from singer/guitarist henry fajemirokun

A poetic cornucopia for autumn’s equinox featuring:

* Emma Jones (b. Sydney), first collection The Striped World (Faber, 2009), now Wordsworth Trust Poet-in-Residence;

* Greta Stoddart, Salvation Jane (Anvil, 2008), lives East Devon, teaches for Poetry School and Bath Spa Univ;

* poet & mathematician Mike Bartholomew-Biggs (b. Essex), Tradesman’s Exit (Shoestring, 2009);

* journalist and Gregory-Award winner Olivia Cole, first collection Restricted View (Salt, 2009);

* American Martha Kapos, Poetry London’s Assistant Poetry Editor, second Enitharmon collection Supreme Being;

* Ben Wilkinson (b. Stafford), pamphlet The Sparks (Tall Lighthouse, 2008);

* Emily Berry (b. London, pamphlet Stingray Fevers, Tall Lighthouse, 2008) features in Voice Recognition (Bloodaxe);

* The Missing (Salt, 2009) by Arvon-winner Siân Hughes, is shortlisted for Forward and Guardian first-book awards

* plus music from singer/guitarist Henry Fajemirokun.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Harsent, Paterson, Seidel

The September issue of Poetry magazine has just been launched.

It includes, among other things, a new sequence from David Harsent, and two poems from Don Paterson's new collection Rain, published by Faber tomorrow.

It also includes a meaty review of Frederick Seidel's Poems 1959-2009 (a poet whose Faber Selected I recently bought and am currently enjoying) by Poetry regular, Michael Hofmann.