Sunday, December 9, 2012

Constellations and Emporium reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement


 

 
‘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

Constellations review in Poetry Review



“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

Oli Hazzard's Between Two Windows



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

Constellations poem 53

Here I am reading poem 53 from Constellations for National Poetry Day. (That's enough shameless self-promotion, Ed.)



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Constellations Teaser Trailer for National Poetry Day

It's National Poetry Day and the theme is STARS, so here is a Teaser Trailer for my second collection Constellations, which has stars on the cover and stars inside.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Review of Constellations

"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.)"
Oliver Dixon/Ictus


Forgive me. I just had to quote that. More here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stop the Clock 2.0



My wife's debut novel Stop the Clock has a new front cover. Pre-order it now, should the mood take you, and check out her blog and tweets and whatnot.

In other news: The Forward people pass me over again. Silly Forward people. Geoffrey Hill should win, but so should Jorie Graham.

One day they'll get what I'm up to. I may be dead by then, though. 

Inspiring words for all fellow poets ignored by the Forward people:

Do your stuff, listen hard and make discoveries. If we’re right, we’ll turn out to be termites in their wooden legs. If we’re wrong, the birds will eat us.

William Carlos Williams, Selected Letters (to James Laughlin, 26 April 1939)

Williams's letters are recommended reading for any poet feeling a little neglected by the tastemakers of the day. Here's another:

Floss [his wife] just showed me the review of my poems in the N.Y. Times which came out today! I'm just short of being one of the best, it seems. That's too bad.

(to Horace Gregory, 22 July 1939)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Where I’m Calling From: Six of the Best

I feel so totally out of step with mainstream British poetry at the moment that I thought it might be pertinent to list the modern poets I rate most highly. (Warning: They are all men* and only one of them is not American.) These are the poets I reach for at night before bed. And it fills me with pride and joy to know that I share a publisher with four of them.

1. Paul Celan

2. Charles Olson

3. George Oppen

4. Ezra Pound

5. Wallace Stevens

6. William Carlos Williams

* In my defence, a longer list would include Elizabeth Bishop, the magnificent Susan Howe, Sylvia Plath, Marianne Moore, and others.

Reading suggestions:

1. Paul Celan

Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan, trans. John Felstiner (better than the Penguin Hamburger translation, and best read alongside Felstiner’s Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew)

2. Charles Olson

Carcanet publish A Charles Olson Reader (including his hugely important essay “Projective Verse”), plus get the Selected Poems edited by Robert Creeley. Two volumes of Collected Poems await the true convert.

3. George Oppen

Carcanet publish the New Collected Poems and seek out any recordings you can find -- if you haven’t heard Oppen read you won’t understand how his poems are phrased; but once that voice is in your head, you will never escape it.

4. Ezra Pound

The New Selected Poems and Translations for starters, then The Cantos. Also any recordings you can find. Pound is another poet whose voice is unmistakable and unforgettable.

5. Wallace Stevens

The Palm at the End of the Mind is a lovely selection of his poems, then on to the Collected Poems and Opus Posthumous and The Necessary Angel (prose). I actually prefer late Stevens (from, say, Transport to Summer onwards) to Harmonium.

6. William Carlos Williams

Carcanet publish a very fine two-volume Collected Poems. His essays are important too.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Restored Finnegans Wake



I’ve been meaning to say something about The Restored Finnegans Wake for ages. Instead, here’s a nice piece in the Times Literary Supplement by Gordon Bowker (though I suspect the Beckett anecdote he mentions (“Come in”) is apocryphal). Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon have done an excellent job, and all praise to Penguin for supporting their work. It’s expensive to reset a text (and a text like Finnegans Wake – well, that’s a unique undertaking) and it is wonderful to see the book in a new incarnation.

The revised text makes Joyce’s intentions much clearer – in particular how he plays with different text formats – although my first impression was one of dismay when I saw The Mookse and the Gripes section (one of my favourites) is now set in reduced type (new p.121, old p.152). Still, it would seem that this is what Joyce intended, so I will just have to get used to it.

Of course, resetting the book means the pagination is different too, so all future scholarly works on the Wake will now have to make mention of yet another set of page references! Argh!

Also, as Bowker makes clear, there is another difficulty: an uncertainty as to how this text stands in relation to the standard text; it seems to exist parallel to it, rather than becoming the definitive text in its own right.

Still, to those familiar with Joyce’s masterwork who want to see it with new eyes, I’d highly recommend getting hold of this revised Penguin edition.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I want to be Azealia Banks

So, I didn’t win the Seamus Heaney Prize (I’m not sure the winner has been announced yet).

I was going to wallow in self-pity and post Jeff Buckley’s cover of “I Know It’s Over”, which I think gives Morrissey a run for his money.

Then I thought, No. Bring it on world. And I decided the video below better represented my current mood.

An odd thing happened when I watched this video for the first time. I sat transfixed throughout the whole thing, and afterwards I realised I didn’t want to “be with” (ahem) Azealia Banks, I wanted to BE Azealia Banks.

So there we are, the truth is out. I want to be Azealia Banks. (This is either incipient middle age or insanity. I welcome them both.)

Well, I never said I was normal. As Foucault once observed, we must all affirm our legitimate strangeness.

That, for me, is what poetry is all about.


*******POTTY MOUTH ALERT! *******


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stop the Clock

It’s all happening in the life of my wife.

Her enormously entertaining debut novel Stop the Clock is out in August.




So buy it! Buy it now! Or by thunder I’ll . . .

She has just started blogging, too, and even tweeting.

So wish her luck as she begins what promises to be a long & rewarding career.

Go girl!

xxx

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gilles Deleuze From A to Z


Good old Semiotext(e). I remember buying their titles in the Compendium Bookshop in Camden in a previous life, when their books looked like this


They’ve undergone a redesign since, but Semiotext(e) can still be relied upon to surprise and delight.


This nicely produced DVD -- Gilles Deleuze From A to Z -- is essentially L’abécédairede de Gilles Deleuze, which was released in France in 2004, but with an important difference: subtitles (provided by the Deleuze translator Charles J. Stivale). I’ve been watching a letter every day. It’s a great treat. Compare and contrast with the documentary Derrida (which I also like, incidentally).

Here’s a taster of Deleuze (not Stivale’s subtitles btw):

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Bloomsday!



Bloom was talking and talking with John Wyse and he quite excited with his dunducketymudcoloured mug on him and his old plumeyes rolling about.

― Persecution, says he, all the history of the world is full of it. Perpetuating national hatred among nations.

― But do you know what a nation means? says John Wyse.

― Yes, says Bloom.

― What is it? says John Wyse.

― A nation? says Bloom. A nation is the same people living in the same place.

― By God, then, says Ned, laughing, if that’s so I’m a nation for living in the same place for the past five years.

So of course everyone had a laugh at Bloom and says he, trying to muck out of it:

― Or also living in different places.

― That covers my case, says Joe.

― What is your nation if I may ask, says the citizen.

― Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.

The citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and, gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him right in the corner.

‘Cyclops’, Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Joe Brainard



I’ve been meaning to say something about this wonderful book for some time.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that it cheers me up whenever I look inside.

So if you need cheering up, seek it out.

As Paul Auster says in his introduction: “These little works . . . are not really about anything so much as what it means to be young, that hopeful, anarchic time when all horizons are open to us and the future appears to be without limits.”

To prove my point I have assembled the following: a short piece by Joe Brainard called “Life”, followed by some wholly inadequate scans of some of his drawings. Enjoy.

Life

When I stop and think about what it’s all about I do come up with some answers, but they don’t help very much.

I think it is safe to say that life is pretty mysterious. And hard.

Life is short. I know that much. That life is short. And that it’s important to keep reminding oneself of it. That life is short. Just because it is. I suspect that each of us is going to wake up some morning to suddenly find ourselves old men (or women) without knowing how we got that way. Wondering where it all went. Regretting all the things we didn’t do. So I think that the sooner we realize that life is short the better off we are.

Now, to get to the basics. There are 24 hours a day. There is you and there are other people. The idea is to fill these 24 hours as best one can. With love and fun. Or things that are interesting. Or what have you. Other people are most important. Art is rewarding. Books and movies are good fillers, and the most reliable.

Now you know that life is not so simple as I am making it sound. We are all a bit fucked up, and here lies the problem. To try and get rid of the fucked up parts, so we can just relax and be ourselves. For what time we have left.

Joe Brainard, “Life”, The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard, ed. Ron Padgett


UPDATE: Nice piece on Brainard by Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection 2012



Good news: my debut collection Emporium has been shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection 2012.

The shortlist:


Clare Best, Excisions (Waterloo Press)

Rachel Boast, Sidereal (Picador Poetry)

Olivia McCannon, Exactly My Own Length (Oxford Poets)

Ian Pindar, Emporium (Carcanet)

Heidi Williamson, Electric Shadow (Bloodaxe Books)


More details here. My thanks to the judges, and congratulations to everyone else on the list.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Magma 53



My essay “Own-Self Little Unstandard Sounds: The Music of Free Verse” is in the new issue of Magma, edited by Rob Mackenzie and Kona Macphee . . .

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Einstein . . .


"Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions which the complications of life through the technical discoveries of recent years has brought with it, the increased severity of the struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization of political life -- all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as barbarous, materialistic and superficial."

Albert Einstein, The World As I See It

Monday, April 30, 2012

Copies of Constellations have been sighted

As the great Bill Withers once said, Take It All In And Check It All Out . . .


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Simply the Best

A great essay by Peter Riley on the poetry prize culture. Excerpts below. Read it all in The Fortnightly Review.


“It’s a question of disproportion –- not of whether some poets are better than others (of course they are) but of whether a very small number of poets (less than a dozen) are really about a thousand times better than all the rest, and so should pick up all the prizes, for such is the structure that prize culture creates. And anyway the word ‘better’ is not used: the elected poets are invariably ‘best’. The back cover of Rain by Don Paterson, another multiple prize-winner, bears a blurb by Colm Tóibín proclaiming him ‘One of the greatest poets now writing anywhere’. What in that case could possibly make you think twice about buying it, except perhaps doubt as to whether Mr Tóibín has in fact read the works of all the living poets in the world? It is a culture of the superlative exclusively. . .

Indeed, the resemblances between the reward structures in poetry and those in operation generally in the west, especially among the ‘financial community’, have not gone unnoticed . . . success creates success and prizes create prizes . . . While poetry remains economically insignificant . . . the award structure openly mimics commercialism. Like the festivals, it is a promotional machine which creates a star system in order to market a few products as exceptional. . .

This brings us to the big questions about all these guarantors of success: what are the social and intellectual implications? If in writing poetry you are involved in ‘the society of the poem’, what do you want that society to be? To the accusers, the poetry hierarchies erect a simulacrum of some near-eastern state in which a band of hereditary potentates live in immense luxury in a fortified palace and everyone else endures grinding poverty in the fields. . .

What remains is the underlying assumption of the whole structure of poetry prize-giving -– that however much we and our poetry may protest and campaign, however much the cultural sphere may be at odds with the administration, it is itself settled and satisfactory and in perfect working order. Merit will inevitably be recognised and rewarded, thus encouraging the progress of the art. It is all clear and continual. Awkward questions about the unrecognised are mute, as they are about the former unrecognised, such as Gerard Manley Hopkins or Emily Dickinson. No, no, there may have been aberrations in the past but fundamentally we know what is happening, we know what is important, nothing escapes us, we find it and we give it the prize. But it does escape, of course, it must.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Answer by Niels Plenge (with Charles Bernstein)

This (below) was such fun I had to post it. It's nice to splice.

Check out the Sibila English website for more post-avant poetry fun.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Poetry Review and Constellations



The first poem in my forthcoming collection, Constellations (out in May from Carcanet), appears in the latest issue of Poetry Review. You can read it on the Poetry Review website.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Is it not just as great, O soul?

Walt Whitman's Canary

I had a wonderful time reading at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, with Will Eaves. You can see (but not hear) me reading a poem here. Will is more audible reading from his debut collection Sound Houses, and you can hear him even better on Radio 4's Start the Week (Writers on Families). His new novel is called This is Paradise.

Before leaving Bolton I paid homage to Walt Whitman’s canary, which is in the town’s museum. (You can read why here.) It is a very beautiful bird, a cheering sight, as it was for the father of free verse all those years ago. Here is Whitman’s poem ‘My Canary Bird’ (1888):

Did we count great, O soul, to penetrate the themes of mighty books,
Absorbing deep and full from thoughts, plays, speculations?
But now from thee to me, caged bird, to feel thy joyous warble,
Filling the air, the lonesome room, the long forenoon,
Is it not just as great, O soul?


In other news, I have a couple of poems in the latest issue of Stand and in this week’s Times Literary Supplement you can read my review of Michel Sanouillet’s Dada in Paris.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Will and Me


It was a great pleasure judging this year’s Oxonian Review Poetry Competition. My thanks to all involved and my congratulations to the ten shortlisted poets and the winner Zohar Atkins, who, it turned out was an affable and learned Heidegger scholar.
Next week on the 15th I'll be reading from Emporium and my new collection Constellations at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, should anyone find themselves in the vicinity.

I'll be reading alongside the excellent Will Eaves, who has published not only a fine debut poetry collection, Sound Houses, but several novels, the most recent being This is Paradise. And I think I’m right in saying that you can hear him on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week on Monday.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Peter Riley's poetry notes

"This is the big public arena of poetry (actually quite small) and its message is that poetry is one happy thriving world. Art and commerce are united in this paradigm: what is most popular (within certain limits of respectability and caste) is clearly the highest quality, and what is rejected is what doesn’t sell because it’s weird and ‘nobody wants it’.
It is outwardly a very simple structure. In fact, of course, the popularity is largely created by the publicity, so that the value of the guidance offered is questionable, and when you look at the poetry elevated by these routines it turns out to be extremely varied in both nature and quality."

from Poetry beyond the cults and enclaves in the Fortnightly Review

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Hear America Singing

Great speech from President Obama, quoting Emily Dickinson ("I dwell in possibility") and Walt Whitman. Intelligent and heartfelt, with due recognition of the role of the Arts and Humanities in forging a nation's soul. (Compare & contrast with the UK.)

Al Pacino is there, as is Rita Dove (don't mention Helen Vendler), and many others.

Mr Ashbery is called around 15:28. Hoorah!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ashbery meets Obama

John Ashbery will collect his National Humanities Medal from President Obama at around 1.45 p.m. eastern time tomorrow (Monday 13 February).

That's about 6.45 p.m. in England, I think. There should be a live stream here, for fans of elected heads of state presenting modern poets with prizes.

The White House press release says: "he has changed how we read poetry and has influenced generations of poets".

Monday, February 6, 2012

Perloff on Niedecker

A great piece in the Times Literary Supplement by the great Marjorie Perloff on the poet Lorine Niedecker (1903-70).

Everyone interested in poetry should read Niedecker's The Granite Pail: The Selected Poems (I have an old second-hand edition).

In her poem Paean to Place ('I am the solitary plover') Niedecker quotes some lines from Robert Duncan's wonderful essay 'Towards an Open Universe':

We live by the urgent wave
of the verse

In fact, Duncan actually wrote:

In the very beginnings of life, in the source of our cadences, with the first pulse of the blood in the egg then, the changes of night and day must have been there. So that in the configuration of the living, hidden in the exchanging orders of the chromosome sequences from which we have our nature, the first nature, child of deep waters and of night and day, sleeping and waking, remains.

We are, all the many expressions of living matter, grandchildren of Gaia, Earth and Uranus, the Heavens. Late born, for the moon and ocean came before. The sea was our first mother and sun our father, so our sciences picture the chemistry of the living as beginning in the alembic of the primal sea quickened by rays of the sun and even, beyond, by radiations of the cosmos at large.

Tide-flow under the sun and moon of the sea, systole and diastole of the heart, these rhythms lie deep in our experience and when we let them take over our speech there is a monotonous rapture of persistent regular stresses and waves of lines breaking rhyme after rhyme. There have been poets for whom this rise and fall, the mothering swell and ebb, was all. Amoebic intelligences, dwelling in the memorial of tidal voice, they arouse in our awake minds a spell, so that we let our awareness go in the urgent wave of the verse.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Nazi king


WTF? Who in their right mind dresses as a Nazi?

Madonna's W.E. appears to rehash the idea that Edward VIII gave up the throne in 1936 for the woman he loved. But this is nonsense, as Anindya Bhattacharyya points out in the Socialist Worker:

The British establishment did not object to Edward and Wallis’s romantic entanglement. They objected to the consequences of their fascist political sympathies. 

For more on which, Bhattacharyya directs us to Paul Foot's 1988 review in the London Review of Books. Foot observes that:

In all the innumerable versions of the ‘Greatest Love Story of the Century’ it is assumed that the British Establishment, led by Stanley Baldwin and the Archbishop of Canterbury, could not stomach the idea of a monarch marrying a twice-divorced woman. The objections, it is said, were moral and religious. The truth is, however, that throughout the centuries archbishops and prime ministers have miraculously overcome their moral objections to royal idiosyncrasies in the bedchamber. The real objection to the liaison between the King and Mrs Simpson was that both were Nazi sympathisers.

For Prince Philip's Nazi connections see New British Empire.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The artist vandalising advertising with poetry


Nice piece in the Independent on Robert Montgomery, who covers over advertisements with his poetry -- a great improvement. View gallery here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stop Subsidising the House of Commons Restaurants and Bars


If, like me, you find it rather disgusting that food and drink in the bars and restaurants of Westminster are subsidized by the taxpayer, when everyone else is struggling to survive, you might like to sign this e-petition and forward the link to others.

The Taxpayers' subsidy of the House of Commons Restaurants should be terminated and all customers should personally pay the full market value of the food and drink consumed

Sadly, it has to reach 100,000 signatures before MPs will pay any attention.

Happy Birthday James Joyce

business, reading newspaper, smoking cigar, arranging tumblers on table, eating meals, pleasure, etcetera, etcetera, pleasure, eating meals, arranging tumblers on table, smoking cigar, reading newspaper, business; minerals, wash and brush up, local views, juju toffee, comic and birthday cards; those were the days and he was their hero
(Finnegans Wake)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Mother Courage of Rock by Luc Sante

Luc Sante's fine piece on Patti Smith in the New York Review of Books is well worth reading.
By then the poets I liked best and tried to emulate — Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett — spoke to the eye and the refined internal ear. Apart from Allen Ginsberg and Helen Adam it was hard to think of contemporary poets who honored poetry’s ancient connection to song.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Joyce's new look





My book on James Joyce has a new livery -- very pleasing to see it in this more colourful design. Order it now if you feel so inclined.

Meanwhile, on the world stage:

It’s a heady thought — if a bit preposterous — that a few lines of verse might undermine a government. But poetry, it is now clear, can be tantamount to treason in China, just as it was in Czechoslovakia (Václav Havel), the Soviet Union (Joseph Brodsky and many others) and other authoritarian regimes of yesteryear.

Read more about Chinese poets in trouble in the International Herald Tribune.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hedge fund alchemy

Intriguing piece by Boyd Tonkin in the Independent today, suggesting that the poets who withdrew from the T. S. Eliot Prize might have misjudged the Aurum Funds group.

'[Aurum] also runs something called the Synchronicity Foundation, linked to a dedicated investment fund that finances its goals. And, ironically enough, Synchronicity turns out to be driven by just those high-minded, holistic and slightly mystical ecological ideals that you find so eloquently voiced in poems by Alice Oswald or John Kinsella.'

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John Burnside

As much as it has ever done, poetry renews and deepens the gift that most surely makes us human: the imagination. And that is as essential to public as it is to private life, because the more imaginative we are, the more compassionate we become – and that, surely, is the highest virtue of all.
A fine piece by John Burnside in the Telegraph, musing on his win and poetry in general. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No alarms and no surprises

No great surprise at the T. S. Eliot Prize, as John Burnside won, although it is something of a coup for the New Statesman.

Meanwhile, over the pond, the University of Pennsylvania has launched an online radio station that plays nothing but poetry. Try it here. Marvellous. Or, as the Americans like to say, marvelous.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Constellations preview

The Guardian seem to have omitted to mention the appearance of my second collection in their round-up of publishing highlights of 2012. Still, you can get a sneak preview of the cover of Constellations in the new Carcanet catalogue, which is full of many other good things, too, as you'd expect.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Through a Glass Darkly


After Harvard, you spent two years at the University of Cambridge. What are the differences between American and British poets, or the relationship between them?

I remember feeling how oddly unrelated British and American poets were in the '70s. At the "high" end, there's more interchange — we read Seamus Heaney; some people here read Geoffrey Hill. You read Robert Lowell, or even John Ashbery in certain quarters. But in the middle it sometimes feels that there’s almost no connection. I remember going to hear poets like Lee Harwood read, sort of British “New York School” poets, in London when I was a student. They were very much on the outer edge of experimentalism in Britain. As students, of course, we would read David Jones and people who had historical relevance, and Philip Larkin was still alive then, who was very great. I remember being totally overwhelmed reading "The Whitsun Weddings" on a train in England. But a lot of the "everyday" poets don’t really speak to each other. It’s almost as if they are reading each other through a glass darkly. I think that’s particularly true of the Britons reading American poets.

Jonathan Galassi, President of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and one-time poetry editor of the Paris Review, interviewed in The Economist.