Friday, August 9, 2013
Sunday, December 9, 2012
‘Comic pieces superficially similar to the breeziest light verse turn out, on closer inspection, to be mined with interpretative dangers, while his lyrics – especially in Constellations – pulse with emotional inconclusiveness. This is writing which, admirably, regards deception and ambiguity as principles that govern the literary . . .
Constellations . . . sheds some of the high-concept comedy of Emporium in a work which unsettles as its themes are painstakingly, almost symphonically, elaborated . . . As in the cinema of Luis Buñuel or Lars von Trier, Constellations takes the bourgeois domestic scene as a stage for the slithering intrusion of death and anxiety . . . Nodding to the post-structuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s rejection of the transcendental, the sixtieth meditation’s bald statement that ‘Life moves on the Plane of Matter’ sets up this resolution, an ending which retrospectively lends sense to the intimations of mortality in the apparent blissfulness of the earlier poems.
This is undoubtedly ambitious territory, but Pindar negotiates it without awkwardness or sententiousness, and the constant presence of linguistic puzzles and semantic traps sets readers to work in a manner which means they are never patronized: there’s a real generosity in the way this poetry trusts its audience’s intelligence. Pindar’s opening brace contains a great deal of promise.’
Joe Kennedy in the Times Literary Supplement (23 November 2012)
Thursday, October 11, 2012
“The metaphysical content and elegiac yet also authoritative tone might lead one to reflect on a poem each day – this is poetry to slow us down. Words and ideas reappear, differently, as if shaken in a starry kaleidoscope . . . At their best, the poems in Constellations are profound, driven by the energy of their thought and language.”
Fiona Moore in Poetry Review (Vol.102:3 Autumn 2012)
PS Great to see Tom Phillips's A Humument on the cover:
Monday, October 8, 2012
I was reading Barbara Guest’s Forces of Imagination over the weekend and came across this in an essay called “Shifting Persona”:
“The windows are normally independent of one another, although you may pass back and forth from one view to the other. This absurd interdependence is like a lark at break of day.”
Absurd interdependence might be a good description of Oli Hazzard’s approach to the world and to poetry in Between Two Windows –- the title itself a definition of the word “interfenestration”, lifted by the poet from this website, which he raids to make the poem “The Inability to Recall the Precise Word for Something”. It’s a fun poem and a good example of Hazzard’s willingness to appropriate and mess up the codes, to highlight the absurd interdependence of everything.
In fact, my favourite poem in this impressive first collection is “Martedi Grasso”, which samples and remixes words from Borges, Duchamp, Peter Ackroyd and, er, the revolting David Starkey on Newsnight.
Eclectic, erudite, surreal, ludic, this is a wonderful first collection. I’m especially envious of the palindrome poem “Are We Not Drawn Onward, We Few, Drawn Onward to New Era?”. Other stand-out poems (for me) were “A Later Stage of Discipline” and “Three Summaries”.
Ashbery is an influence (“Some Shadows”, perhaps, and “Four Landscapes” has something of “The Instruction Manual”, plus there’s that familiar Ashberian sudden drop in pressure: e.g., “but that’s probably just today talking” in “A Later Stage of Discipline”); Wallace Stevens is in the mix too (most obviously in “Pantoum in Which Wallace Stevens Gives Me Vertigo”). There's some Oulipo in there as well, of course. Hazzard likes language games and odd words (“clishmaclaver” anyone?) and he has a nice line in one-liners: “I’m leaving you everything / except my corneas” (“Glasnost”).
All in all, you should check it out. You’ll have fun and be impressed. It is heartening, too, because it offers further evidence that a new generation of British poets has comprehensively dumped the Movement consensus.
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! I say.
(In sum, he is simpatico and one to watch.)
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
"What’s particularly important about Constellations is the way Pindar has forged a style based on Modernist and non-British role-models that sets it bravely apart from the run-of-the-mill complacencies of so many volumes published today. In so doing, it reminds us both of the restrictive set of tacit conventions many poets are writing by, and of the vastly wider possibilities embodied in looking beyond these same conventions and towards areas of poetry far more ambitious, complex and powerful than anything written in the UK in the last 10 years (the usual source of influence for new poets.)"
Forgive me. I just had to quote that. More here.
Forgive me. I just had to quote that. More here.