'Much, though not all, of the vital poetry around is published by smaller presses far from the centre, while the commercial publishers too often tie themselves to hyped fads and mainstream fashions. What else should we expect? Fine poets are individualistic, living on the fringes, metaphorical and geographical, of the literary scene.'
I’ve become quite addicted to The Keiser Report on RussiaToday(available on Freeview). Here is Max Keiser beginning with a bizarre debt-as-pepper-spray trope,
before turning his attention to the UK and laying into the Prime Minister’s housing
plans. It’s a welcome antidote to the colourless news reporting we get in the
I was an editor at the Harvill Press I put out feelers regarding a short
biography of Suzanne Déchevaux-Dumesnil, the woman who lived in Samuel Beckett’s
shadow. The answer came back that there was ‘nothing there’, but in my view she
remains a rather fascinating figure.
. most of all there was Suzanne. Already acquainted with Beckett, she had drawn
close to him when he was at his most vulnerable, hospitalised in 1938 for stab
wounds received in a mugging. Six years older than Beckett, Suzanne would allow
him to depend on her economically, while letting him retain an independence of
action few partners would have granted. She would also provide a buffer between
Beckett and the literary world, taking his manuscripts to publishers, writing
to them for him and later going to productions of his plays to check that all
was being done as he wished. It wasn’t quite the scenario of First Love – the
man barricaded in his bedroom while the beloved provides – but Beckett had
found a remarkable facilitator.
we hear almost nothing about her from his correspondence: Suzanne sends her
greetings, Beckett tells us at the close of many letters; she asks to be
remembered; she thanks someone for chocolates. In one letter he mentions her
‘heroically spreading out her dressmaking’ and in another that she has painted
a wheelbarrow red. But nothing about their relationship or her opinions. What
letters Beckett wrote to her and she to him have not survived; one assumes this
was deliberate. Towards the end of a letter to Duthuit, written from Dublin in
August 1948, Beckett comments: ‘Suzanne writes, letters that are more and more
dismal. At bottom, she is inconsolable at living.’”
My poem 'What is the Matter?' (from Emporium) has been chosen by the judges of this year's Forward Prize to be included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2012, 'a collection of the best poems of the year'.
I've also become aware of two new reviews of Emporium.
Rob A Mackenzie in Magma 51 calls it 'dark, witty and entertaining . . . "Mrs Beltinska in the Bath", "Armageddon", "Time Remaining" and several others are as ingenious as anything I've read for a while, and few collections have been half as entertaining.'
And then, over in Poetry London (Autumn 2011 No.70), Claire Crowther says: 'Pindar uses varied forms, a sestina, collage ("Chain Letter" is a tour de force of other poets' lines from William Langland to Maxine Chernoff), as well as open form . . . Pindar is urbane, funny and profound. A brilliant first collection.'
". . . the latest phase of Europe's sovereign debt crisis has exposed the quite flagrant contempt for voters, the people who are going to bear the full weight of the austerity programmes being cooked up by the political elites. Here's how things work. The real decisions in Europe are now taken by the Frankfurt Group, an unelected cabal [. . .] What matters to this group is what the financial markets think not what voters might want. [. . .] This would be deeply troubling even if it could be shown that the Frankfurt Group's economic remedies were working, which they are not. Instead, the insistence on ever more austerity is pushing Europe's weaker countries into an economic death spiral while their voters are being bypassed. That is a dangerous mixture."
'The conflict is no longer between right and left, but between the "one per cent" – a corporatocracy that, without transparency or accountability, is claiming the lion's share of the planet's resources and capital, while disregarding democratic processes – and, well, the rest of us.
This single global family, transcending national boundaries, just wants a peaceful life, a sustainable future, economic justice and basic democracy. On the other side, the global corporatocracy, also transcending national boundaries, has purchased governments and legislative processes, developed its own military, mercenary or quasi-military enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud and plundered treasuries and ecosystems.'
"Regrettably, most people have little or no appreciation of the best of today's
Chinese poets and their work. Much of the poetry collected in this volume will,
at the very least, reveal to the readers of poetry in two countries…the true
features of China's fine contemporary verse." Qingping Wang, editor
Ian Pindar's second poetry collection Constellations (Carcanet) is out now. His debut collection Emporium (Carcanet) was shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection 2012. His poems have appeared in The English Review, The Forward Book of Poetry 2011 and 2012, London Magazine, Magma, New Poetries III, Oxford Poetry, PN Review, Poetry Review, Stand, the Times Literary Supplement and Wave Composition. He won second prize in the National Poetry Competition 2009, a supplementary prize in the Bridport Prize 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2010 Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem).
Praise for Constellations
‘The pleasure of Constellations lies in their lyrics’ easy movement among images and observations, their development less linear than cumulative . . . In such denser passages, where the observations leap from one to another in a momentum compelling both for the intriguing train of thought and for the music of the lines, Pindar achieves “a difficult // furthering; intense, informal immediacy” in his distinctive approach to the lyric.’ Guardian
‘Pindar’s 88 brilliant new “constellations” are as haunting as they are enigmatic.’ Marjorie Perloff, author of 21st-Century Modernism: The 'New' Poetics
Praise for Emporium
‘Pindar is urbane, funny and profound. A brilliant first collection.' Poetry London
'There is real gold in this volume . . . I was about to say that Ian Pindar is a promising poet; but no, he is already a significant one.' Poetry Review
'Some of the most hyped poetry in Britain today has been ruthlessly pruned of any phrase that might ignite the slightest grin. Ian Pindar’s first collection, Emporium, is a welcome antidote. It’s dark, witty and entertaining . . . as ingenious as anything I've read for a while, and few collections have been half as entertaining.' Rob A Mackenzie, Magma
‘Here's a poetry that's light, clear, at times almost throwaway, full of political scope and menace.’ Guardian
‘Pindar’s inventiveness and sense of linguistic and literary history make this an enjoyable collection, holding promise for the future.’ Boston Review
‘It was about time for somebody to be channeling Eliot, maybe Stevens, Laforgue, and the Metaphysicals to such clashing effect: “bright as a seedsman’s packet”, with unexpected timbres and sonorities sabotaged by glockenspiel accents. Pindar is just right for the job.’ John Ashbery
‘In this sparkling debut collection Ian Pindar brilliantly fulfils Verlaine’s injunction to the poet to take eloquence and wring its neck. Emporium offers the reader a beguiling and compendious range of styles and voices, and signals the arrival of a fascinating and original poet.’ Mark Ford
‘Ian Pindar’s short, crisp and enjoyable new biography [is] an easy-going introduction to the man and a straightforward route into his work, aimed at people who know little about either.’ Josh Lacey in the Guardian
‘Pindar manages gracefully to pack a wealth of information into this brief study.’ Gerry Dukes in the Irish Independent
‘Pindar has skilfully made the process of understanding the complex relationship between Joyce’s life and work “funagain”.’ Eric Bulson in The Times Literary Supplement
“Attractive in a maddeningly opaque way.” Steven Poole in the Guardian