Saturday, August 13, 2011

Emporium review

There's a review of Emporium in the Guardian today:

Emporium, by Ian Pindar (Carcanet, £9.95)

Here's a poetry that's light, clear, at times almost throwaway, full of political scope and menace. The two sonnets that make up "The Prophecies", for example, relish surprising connections, their images coming in and out of focus – "In June the instincts will go / backwards, dragging the economy. Riches / will turn to rags and winos will be sober, ushering in / an era of Total Responsibility." Pindar's writing gestures towards a public language ("There are no / virtuous people / only good acts") though this is regularly undermined by the comic and sardonic ("Everywhere I go / People are talking about Antonin Artaud"). The poetry thrives on this flexibility of tone, its declarations constantly being shifted, contested and contradicted. See the poem "Parable", where the blithe hope of "you are your own / purpose, / at ease with a life / incomparable" is immediately undercut by "(So much leads to thinking otherwise)". Much of the book is made up of elusive, uneasy parables, such as "Snow" or "Advice for Travellers", that hover between pessimism and hope, and the potential of language to articulate this predicament: "All founded on / nothing, like you / said. Only your words / found it."
Charles Bainbridge

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