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Showing posts from August, 2009

Rosemary Tonks

"My foremost preoccupation at the moment is the search for an idiom which is individual, contemporary and musical. And one that has sufficientauthority to bear the full weight of whatever passion I would wish to lay upon it.

"Every poet who has been confined - at the mercy of form when he has come of age emotionally - and has found half the things he wants to say well out of his poem's range, knows the immensity of the task. And I am not speaking here of metrical skills, but of absolute freshness and authenticity in handling diction.

"What I write about must develop from my life and times. I am especially conscious of the great natural forces which bring modern life up to date. My concern here is with the exact emotional proportions - proportions as they are now current for me. Ideally, whatever is heightened should be justified both by art and by life; while the poet remains vulnerable to those moments when a poem suddenly makes its own terms - and with an overwhelmi…

Faber New Poets

At the start of this year a new Arts Council-funded initiative was announced - the prestigious poetry press Faber were to release a series of pamphlets by young poets, influenced by the continuing success of tall-lighthouse's Pilot series, edited by Roddy Lumsden.

Like the Pilot series, each poet receives editorial input and a pamphlet of their poems is published, but the Faber scheme also offers some financial help for the poets.

Now, the first pamphlets in the series are scheduled to be published in early October of this year. And the selected poets - Fiona Benson (pamphlet cover pictured above), Heather Phillipson, Toby Martinez de las Rivas and Jack Underwood - seem to represent a fair cross-section of the type of poetry emerging from this new generation of poets; unusual, edgy, contemporary and occasionally free-wheeling... hard to say anything substantial here without going into great detail (and even that would only be based on the handful of poems I've seen by these poet…

Moon

A few weeks ago I went to see Moon, the excellent debut film from director Duncan Jones (once known as 'Zowie Bowie') - an impressively eerie, cerebral and often darkly funny piece of sci-fi cinema that details the life of a man alone on the lunar surface. I highly recommend it, and briefly entertained thoughts of writing a lengthier piece about it here, but then a friend of mine has recently set up a film review blog, and has done an excellent job of writing an intelligent and incisive piece on the film. So I needn't bother waffling on - instead, you can read the review here. What's more, it doesn't completely give the game away unlike many reviews I've read of Moon, which means if you do decide to go and see it, this review won't ruin your experience of it.

The Quality of Sprawl

I've come across poems by Australian poet Les Murray here and there - in anthologies, online, and in magazines like a recent issue of Poetry London (Autumn '08, above) - but haven't yet bought a collection of his work. I'm thinking of ordering his Selected from Carcanet soon though, as I was reminded of what I admire in his work reading 'The Quality of Sprawl' in Shapcott and Sweeney's excellent Faber anthology, Emergency Kit, last night: the verbal dexterity, originality and often dark humour, though the unswerving certitude of some of his poems can get a bit irritating. Still, 'The Quality of Sprawl' is a fine piece, and one which uses the conversational, narrative style to great effect, I think.

It's one of his more well-known poems, but for those unfamiliar, you can read it here.